Michelle Buckley

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What Can Organisations Do To Improve The Gender Pay Gap?

As the snapshot date for revealing the gender pay gap data approached in spring, many companies held back their results. It seemed they were afraid of what the consequences would be – likely an overwhelming media backlash – if they were found to be a fair distance away from an equal pay scale.

They were right that this was likely to happen (see some of the most immediate comments and views gathered together here at the BBC) but wrong to hold back. The reason for going down the route of creating a gender pay report was to find out the extent of the problem.

The results did not shock, it just reiterated in many cases what is common knowledge, that there is a lack of women in senior positions. But it didn’t give us the full picture. Many argue that reporting on grades rather than whole organisations would offer a better overview of the gender pay gap, for example. But it is a start. And by starting the process, if indeed not perfect, gets us going in the right direction.

The gender pay landscape can only be improved by knowing where we stand and by admitting the problem is there. Organisations need to understand what is right for them. There will always been a gap depending on the gender of key roles within your organisation, and it would be near impossible to have a zero difference.

In Defence Of The Gender Pay Gap Results

Many firms defended their position by suggesting they had a weak female representation in their sector, or less women in top roles, so skewing the data. What that reflected was the issue of not seeing women in these top jobs and the lack of role models for others to follow.

This laying bare of the results, this transparency, is what will help us make any industry and organisation fairer in their matters of pay and job opportunities. Admitting where you stand, as difficult as that may be, has also provided the boost needed for an organisation to take action and eliminate any discriminatory elements from within the company or focusing on making their industry and recruitment process appealing to both genders.

So if your organisation revealed a pay gap it is not happy with, how do you move forward from here? How do you look to close this gap?

How To Reduce The Pay Gap In Your Company

If you have a gender pay gap in your organisation that you want to improve, here are some ideas that will help you take action to close that gap, and bring fairness and balance to the differences in pay between men and women in your company.

Here is what your organisation can do now, to reduce the pay gap in your company:

A thorough audit of where staff are positioned in your current pay structure. For example, are most staff at one end of the scale, creating an imbalance in pay and so widening the tension of the gender pay gap? Within your organisation, perhaps you have found men take the ‘top jobs’ while women fill lower roles? What are you doing to help promote women to more senior roles?

Pay range lengths can be shortened. This can easily happen in a large organisation, where people end up being paid far less than others though the job function and role is the equivalent. From performing a thorough audit of your current pay structure, as we recommend above, you can reduce this extensive salary range differential to something more in line with the actual job role.

Check your grades are not too wide. When you concentrate on this, you can narrow the focus and make sure roles are paid fairly to the group they deserve to be in.

Design strong recruitment processes. This is a common failing, but needs looking at to ensure consistency of hiring salaries. Consistency here being the key! It may also be that you can begin actively recruiting more women into the top roles. Do you even look in the right places? Do you support everyone equally in your business? It can be difficult for women to reach these parts of an organisation due to family commitments – many women may take a career break to have a child, or raise a family. This reduces the women in top roles and induces the gender pay gap to widen. Ask in your organisation – do we have measures in place for both women and men to adequately juggle career and family?

Create a solid job evaluation system to underpin the company structure. It is so easy to lose sight of what role does what, why they do it and who is responsible for making it happen, especially as a company grows and becomes busier and perhaps more unwieldy. By taking a step back and seeing what each job actually entails, you can begin to redefine work within your organisation and naturally close the pay gap. It also means you are not judging anyone, consciously or not, on their gender. You are working on what they do to make your organisation function. This removes gender bias and emotion from the process.

It is of absolute benefit to everyone to investigate in detail the reasons behind the gap. Investigate it by grade, by function, by length of service, by all of these data measures in order to truly understand it.

It is only when you realise what is driving the pay gap that you can spot where to make your improvements, and decide what needs to be done. Individually, for each company, it’s about year on year tracking, taking definitive steps in a positive way, rather than upending everything and declaring absolutist values.

The Benefits of Closing The Gender Pay Gap

One great benefit of closing the gender pay gap is it will attract talented, thoughtful people. If you are renowned for taking positive steps to reduce the pay gap, then you will attract women and men who will see you offer fair opportunities, giving your organisation a better chance of recruiting strong candidates.

Here is our brochure outlining in further detail the Benefits of the Gender Pay Gap Report.

Don’t Forget The Annual Gender Pay Review!

Now the first report on the gender pay gap has been completed and you know where you stand, and have also noted which steps you can take to address any issues within your organisation – what happens next?

You must do a gender pay review annually.

This is a brilliant opportunity to show how you have taken action to diminish any pay gap and make fair progress in your pay structure. At Reward Connected, we like to keep our gender pay reviews simple. We will come into your business, write you the report and include the methodology and outcomes. It is everything you need to provide, year on year.

What is also a wonderful residual outcome to this annual report, is that it monitors the gender pay gap and so will help you keep on top of any problems that exist, reducing them for the future.

Prices for the annual gender pay review start from £1500 plus VAT. This price means you not only stay compliant, but you head on into the new financial year armed with the knowledge and data you need to reduce a problematic gender pay gap in your organisation.

So if you are worried about the gender pay in your organisation, we recommend getting in touch with us here at Reward Connected.

By starting the conversation we can help guide you on where you stand.

For the best help, say hello to Michelle today.