The gender pay gap: How to talk about it (and when can we stop?)
Last Thursday I was one of the speakers at an event hosted by Purpose Union on the gender pay gap. It was a thought-provoking and insightful session with speakers from a wide range of backgrounds.
My top 10 takeaways from the event were:
01. The gender pay gap requirements are part of a broader discussion around diversity, inclusion and corporate culture.
02. The requirements are encouraging companies to engage and take positive action on the issue.
03. It’s important to include a narrative around the figures when reporting to provide context and explanation.
04. It’s not just about reporting once a year - companies should develop an action plan including initiatives and specific targets and monitor progress on an ongoing basis.
05. There is not a short-term fix. There are structural issues to be addressed which will take time so companies need to develop a longer-term strategy.
06. Companies need to be open and transparent, talking about the challenges they face and how they are dealing with them, as well as the progress they are making.
07. Don’t just look at gender – it’s worth considering ethnicity and other diversity indicators too.
08. Senior management buy-in is essential – but it’s equally important to get middle management involved in the process through discussion and training.
09. Communication should be consistent across all channels and materials. Consider additional channels for reporting such as an online report or video/animation.
10. It’s really important for companies to engage with their employees on the issue. They see negative media coverage around the gender pay gap so need to understand what you are doing about it.
Our discussions made it clear that there’s still a long way to go to address the gender pay gap in the UK. Encouragingly though companies are now engaged and many are embracing the opportunity to make systemic changes to their businesses rather than simply viewing the report as a compliance exercise.