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The Gender Pay Gap:

What does it mean for you?

"The gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce. If women do more of the less well paid jobs within an organisation than men, the gender pay gap is usually bigger."

The Gender Pay Gap (GPG) reporting is a legal requirement for all companies with more than 250 employees in the United Kingdom. Companies must also publish on their website and submit to government the following;

  • Their mean gender pay gap

  • Their median gender pay gap

  • Their mean bonus gender pay gap 

  • Their median bonus gender pay gap

  • The proportion of men in the organisation receiving a bonus payment 

  • The proportion of women the organisation receiving a bonus payment 

  • The proportion of men and women in each quartile pay band

While having the differing types of averages is interesting, along with bonus breakdowns,  what is the most interesting for those of us in the corporate world is rather the quartile pay band data. For a large number of organisations, as women move up the quartile pay band, the GPG increases. This is due to the leaking pipeline effect which exists in relation to retaining and promoting women within the corporate world. 

Currently the national median GPG is around 18%. As can be seen below in charts from the the use of the average hides the stark reality of the leaky pipeline. The quarterly data for three large companies below highlights how an organisation can have a great structure to recruit women at the entry and administrative levels but once they hit the second quartile pay band, in in particular into the third for most organisations, the increase in the GPG is stark. It is not I believe the case there is significant numbers of women being paid less than men in these pay quartile roles but rather there are less women. Companies are not currently required to present their GPG data against the gender of their employees in each quartile. If this was to take place the leaky pipeline would be exceptionally obvious. 

There are some constructive ways detailed below to reinforce the pipeline and even in some cases expand the width of the pipeline to increase the number of women entering the pipeline. 

  • Recruitment

    • Gender neutral advertising - use of language that appeals to both genders

    • Diverse genders at the CV review

    • Inclusive decision making training for all hiring managers

    • Gender diverse hiring panel (excluding HR representative)

    • Highlight flexible working arrangements, and if possible specific some of the flexibility that could be available within the role

  • Retention

    • Flexible working toolkit to support colleagues in understanding the culture of flexibility in their organisation and also supporting managers to understand what flexible working is and what best practice looks like​

    • Remove technological barriers to flexible working - laptops, group chat software, virtual access to files - these are all technological solutions for remote working and collaboration.

    • Real models to highlight diversity across the career ladder. Highlighting existing real models via affinity newsletters and intranets are vital.

    • Trigger Point Support is vital to ensure diversity stays. Mentoring and/or workshop support before or after parental leave, starting to manage a team, moves to increase flexibility, prior to promotion.

    • Sponsorship - Mentoring is important but it has been proven that what can make the difference for high performing women and flexible workers is sponsorship.

    • Active support for internal networks and employee resource groups ensures knowledge sharing and allows best practice to be brought to light.

  • Promotion

    • Stagnation review of any colleagues who have remained for more than six years at a specific level​

    • Real Models of diverse leadership capability across a wide range of teams

    • Clear promotion criteria with detailed competencies that do not bias those on non-traditional career tracks, including part-time.

    • Gender diverse promotion panels to minimize group think and unconscious bias.

Beyond the highlighted potential actions above any real change needs a commitment to cultural change from the top of he organisation. Open and honest conversations starting at the top need to be undertaken and a mechanism to call out bias is vital to ensure that companies 'walk the walk' and don't just 'talk the talk'. 

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