Not a lot surprises me these days! A Gender Pay Gap Expert On The Key Issues of Pay Gap Reporting

Sian Webb, Partnerships Manager at Gapsquare shares some Gender Pay Gap wisdom with the Talk With Stitch team.

“As someone who spends a lot of my time looking and analysing numbers and figures, not a lot surprises me these days! However, I have been surprised at the number of charities and businesses that are reporting a higher than average gender pay gap and not accompanying it with an explanation or narrative about why they have one and importantly, what they are going to do to reduce it over the coming years.”

“The important thing for companies to see is not the actual figure in year one, but that it is improves and reduces in years 2 and 3. It is critical therefore that they get to grips with what exactly causes the gender pay gap in the first place (which is where Gapsquare comes in!) and so that they can put in place initiatives so that it will start improving and reducing.”

Read more about Gapsquare’s journey into Gender Pay Gap analytics on TalkWithStitch 

 

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Not a lot surprises me these days! A Gender Pay Gap Expert On The Key Issues of Pay Gap Reporting

Don’t Fear The Gender Pay Gap – Communicate!

The Financial Times staff are meeting to discuss a strike as a result of gender pay gap data coming to light within the company. Women (and men) at the Financial Times want to hear that their company cares about the issues that are revealed by pay gap regulations but is this what’s being communicated?

Lack of clear plans to close the gap and a stunted narrative around its causes have left staff feeling “a lot of anger” , as Steve Bird, of the FT’s National Union of Journalists noted “recent corporate statements seem more concerned about the commercial implications of gender bias than bringing women’s salaries into line with those of male counterparts.”

This can and should be avoided, says the CEO of Gender Pay Gap Analysis provider Gapsquare, if we have “solid plans to narrow the gap and a good level of communication with employees”. Gapsquare makes gender pay gap analysis simple, providing extensive analysis and clear visual representations of its data analysis, and in doing so supports companies in communicating the narrative around gender pay gap data.

Unfortunately, there are still some serious misunderstandings around the gender pay gap, and lack of realisation as to the benefits of closing it. The choices are simple, understand your gender pay gap and make it make sense for your employees, or risk a lot of confusion when you release your data. Losing a member of staff can cost you around £30,614 per employee, the cost of good communication and exemplary data analysis is significantly less. 

Remarkably, the gender pay regulations due to be reported by all companies with over 250 staff by next April have revealed equal pay issues but we must not lose sight of the fact that the gender pay gap is a different animal altogether from equal pay. Sian Webb, Partnerships Manager at Gapsquare explains this further in her article Equal Pay vs. the Gender Pay Gap: What’s It All About?:

With the Gender Pay Gap we do not have to compare ‘like for like’. That would be an equal pay issue – equal pay has been a legal requirement since the 1970 Equal Pay Act. If a male colleague has the same job title, same pay grade, same experience but earns more than the female counterpart, then there could in fact be an Equal Pay claim and legal advice should be sought. “

“The gender pay gap reporting requirements, though they cover ground that can reveal Equal Pay issues, are not about equal pay.” She adds. “They compare the overall company male average pay to the female average pay and therefore, gender pay gap data is more likely to reflect the clustering of women in low paid, part time roles, occupational segregation and general lack of women in leadership roles.”

It’s surprising to see resistance in tackling the gender pay gap. Though it can be difficult uncovering areas where we must improve how we work, when we see the returns that closing the gap can create, we have to admit that we’re better up being pay gap savvy. Unfortunately, few understand why the changes might be beneficial to a company. There are three key benefits, listed below, along with an army of other opportunities:

A. Improved chances of recruitment

A recent survey by HAYS stated that 62% of job seekers looking for employment care about equality and diversity. Companies that show that they are doing something about tackling their gender pay gap is attractive for hiring the best talent.

B. A positive company culture will support retention

Companies invest in staff. Creating a company culture that values their employees, by offering rewards and incentives that retain not just women, but men too, like flexible working, childcare facilities and mentoring schemes is beneficial in the long run, as the longer a talented employee stays in a company, the better their value.

C. There are proved financial benefits to gender diversity

The Financial Times are victims not of the gender pay gap itself, but of not making accessible the nature of its gap or a willingness to use that understanding to improve opportunities and treatment of those it employs. Taking steps towards high quality data analysis, visually represented and therefore understood with ease is the only way to make sure that we are all prepared for the release of our pay gap data. Know your data, communicate and develop a clear strategy for change. Do so for the respect and support of your employees, and for the positive impact it will have on your business.

Gapsquare, the UK’s leading provider of gender pay gap analysis. Gapsquare’s all female team of data analysts use the latest cloud based technology to make pay gap analysis simple.

Find us on Twitter @Gapsquare

To learn more about Gapsquare’s Data Analysis Package contact Zara Nanu zara.nanu@gapsquare.com, or 44 (0) 117 230 0066.

 

Don’t Fear The Gender Pay Gap – Communicate!

Lessons Learnt? Understanding data and changing culture at the BBC

team gapsquare

Thoughts from a gender pay gap data scientist

@gapsquare

The last five days must have been somewhat of a headache for Tony Hall, BBC Director-General. First, the damning list of salaries that showed that lack of female high earners and gender pay disparity, followed by some of the BBC’s most high-profile female personalities writing a frank open letter calling him to “act now” to tackle the gender pay gap, rather than waiting until 2020 for it to be eliminated. It has certainly made headline news and spread to extensive conversations from within the BBC, the general workplace, to the pub with friends on the weekend.

My inner cynicism shows an element of lack of surprise to the figures. Women have continuously been under-represented at the BBC, with Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic women, older women, transwomen, disabled women and LGBTQ women even further under-represented. Experience within gender pay gap data analysis unfortunately has informed me that under-representation tends to go hand in hand with pay disparity too.

The public appears to be shocked, as the BBC have a reputation to lead the way and represent the nation as to our values and principles. Yet, as a nation, we are plagued with gender inequality in the workplace, from harassment and abuse (E.G. the Saville era), to sexism and misogyny. A day doesn’t go by without word of a male colleagues’ inappropriate comments about a female member of staff reaching my ears, examples of everyday sexism, our female CEO being asked to “clear away the cups” by a nonchalant businessman in our business lounge or instances when friends are overlooked for a promotion and miss out on pay rises after returning from maternity. As a nation, we are far from gender equality and the news coming out of the BBC in the last few days appears to mirror what we as women experience across the country.

However, this media-storm is a great opportunity to learn some valuable lessons and move toward greater equality in the workplace. Tony Hall is right in saying that “we need to do more to close the gender pay gap.” The BBC itself has a pay gap of 10%, so yes, more needs to be done.

As a pay gap data scientist, working with HR and payroll data across a number of organisations in the UK, I am seeing daily data on the issues that are actually causing the gender pay gap. I work for Gapsquare, a tech start-up that has created a piece of self-use software that allows companies to go into in-depth analysis of their gender pay gap. The tool looks beyond the mere reporting figures and delves deeper so we can see, using actual data, if occupational segregation, the glass ceiling or the motherhood penalty actually are factors that create, perpetuate and exacerbate the gender pay gap. Using data, companies can build data-driven action plans to genuinely tackle the gap, and using artificial intelligence, put in place measures that will genuinely reduce the gap, which, the majority of the time, all involve an actual culture change.

Tony Hall says that he is “committed to closing the gap by 2020” – my experience looking at other companies’ data is that if we genuinely want to achieve this, we need to look beyond the reporting figures. Hall needs to look into the big data of the BBC, analyse by department, by job level, by ethnicity, by age and how this impacts the company culture. Only then will he actually be able to stand up and say that closing the gap by 2020 is achievable. When the BBC reports before next April, I am expecting to see more than just the figures needed for government compliance. I am expecting a full and comprehensive analysis of pay and inequality at the BBC and using this analysis, achievable targets to measure and track change.

If Tony Hall truly wants the BBC to be regarded as “an exemplar on gender and diversity” and accelerate change, he needs to use big data, and accept that the BBC needs to change a lot in the coming months and years. And quickly if he wants to meet his 2020 target.

Lessons Learnt? Understanding data and changing culture at the BBC