The Gender Pay Gap reporting process for organisations that have 250 or more employees has attracted a huge amount of media coverage.
Most recently, the Royal College of Physicians revealed that on average males are being paid £10,000 more than female doctors, sparking a review led by Jeremy Hunt to close the gap, as well as MPs now backing a campaign to urge financial firms to tackle the alpha male culture.
Overall, 78 per cent of 10,060 companies that reported their pay gap figures pay men more than women, with some of the UKs largest and well known organisations publishing some interesting stats.
So what needs to be done in order to make a fundamental change?
There is no doubt that this process has initiated a positive step forward. Companies that have embraced the challenge and reported should be praised. For each of them it says a great deal about their position as employers of the future – actively accountable and compliant on behalf of current employees.
The initiative is surfacing issues for organisations to manage and weve seen a number of companies leading the way in taking action. John Lewis, for example, is using the initiative as an integral step in having conversations about equality. The retailer has made a commitment to provide access to better career opportunities for ALL employees through a variety of routes.
The Gender Pay Gap reporting results calls upon everyone to understand their innate attitudes, increasing the need for self-development in the interests of society. Companies remaining outside of the initiative, may well hinder, or harm company reputation amongst stakeholders, including their customers.
So practically, what are the next steps that organisations should take to understand the implications of these statistics for THEIR individual businesses? How can they re-evaluate their management practices and attitudes to drive a change in behaviours within the organisation, at the same time contributing to any national progress?
Internal review and communication
First step is to understand the impact of the reported figures on the business reputation – and agree a plan to communicate this to all stakeholders. Use an internal review to uncover the key issues – what are the reasons behind the figures? Which roles are impacting the gap most and why is this? Where possible make plans to address.
Once issues are identified, set and communicate realistic goals that are relevant, achievable yet stretch the business. Targets could include; raising awareness of gender bias, setting achievable recruitment or promotion gender mix targets by career level or salary, introducing flexible working policies, showcase female leaders within the business, and provide female employees access to mentors.
Put measures in place to support teams in meeting goals. Establish internal and external relevant networks across the business, plus embed a strong personal development process to support employees regularly.
Buy-in and leadership from the top down
Active demonstration of the drive by the senior team, otherwise risk failure. As a leader, discover how other organisations are closing the gap – be inspired and inspire other people and programmes.
Understand that the Gender Pay Gap is not going to be solved overnight. This initiative has created a platform for use by those organisations, aiming to become an inclusive employer, to futureproof productivity, profitability and ultimately longevity of the business.