As many employees ease their way back into the workplace after a period of leave, the general chat may be on new year resolutions, healthy eating, and how payday feels a million miles away… human resource and finance teams however will be feeling the pressure to meet their March/April deadline to publish their Gender Pay Gap.
The Gender Pay Gap (GPG) shows us the difference in average earnings between men and women, and GPG reporting is a requirement for large employers and the public sector1 but more and more employers are taking an active interest in their GPG.
To be clear, this is not about equal pay…
The Equal Pay Act prevents discrimination concerning the terms and conditions of employment between men and women.2 Equal Pay refers to the same pay for the same or similar work. There is a case currently working its way through the courts where several female Tesco shopfloor workers have brought equal pay claims based on their work being of equal value to the work of the (mainly male) distribution centre workers, who are paid more.
The Gender Pay Gap is different. It measures the difference in earnings of all men and all women across a whole organisation. Having a GPG doesn’t necessarily mean an organisation is deliberately paying a higher hourly rate to one gender over another. It’s far more likely that one gender (frequently women) is concentrated in lower-paid roles and/or occupy most of the part-time jobs, thus driving down their average earnings.
Analysing the causes of your GPG and then taking action to address it, is what matters.
By reporting and analysing their GPG, businesses will be able to identify where they need to take action in order to create a more equal workforce which can often result in increased productivity and staff retention and reduced sick leave.
If you identify a key contributor to your pay gap as the fact you have very few or even no women in your high-paid roles, then you should explore why that is.
Changes to recruitment processes, adopting more modern and flexible working practices, moving from a culture of presenteeism to one based on outcomes and results, and building the skills and confidence of employees all help to significantly narrow the gap.
You’re a small business – should you be concerned about your GPG?
Even if you don’t want to publish your findings, carrying out this analysis is a great way of better understanding gender inequality holistically. Everybody wins with a more diverse and equal workforce.
The environment of the workplace is improved, businesses become more productive, and the wider economic benefits from the increased tax take too. It’s estimated that closing the gender pay gap would lead to a £150bn increase to the UK’s GDP and our research shows that it could add almost £14bn to the Welsh economy.
But this isn’t just an economic issue. It’s a societal issue. So we should all be taking steps to address gender inequality and removing any barriers that prevent access to higher-paid roles.
How we can help
Chwarae Teg has been working with smaller businesses over a number of years to help them develop and implement strategies to develop a more diverse workforce with our Agile Nation 2 programme which is fully funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government.
We have found that companies who take part in our programmes can reap huge rewards in terms of increased productivity, improved staff retention rates, and reduced sick leave after implementing relatively simple measures which enable female employees to thrive.
We also support larger employers and businesses from across Wales who subscribe to our FairPlay Employer service to understand the causes of their gender pay gaps and to develop individually tailored strategies to reduce and eventually eliminate the gap.
For more information on how we can help your business contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 365 0445.
1 UK Gender Pay Gap – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)