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.

 

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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

The Snap General Election and the Gender Pay Gap – Reflections by Sian Webb, Gapsquare

“The snap general election was mainly focused on Brexit, yet all parties produced manifestos which will pave the way for policy and governance over the next five years.”

“Equality and diversity has ignited both the public and politicians alike, with women’s rights being at the forefront of activism, 2018 being the centenary of women’s suffrage and three formidable political leaders Sturgeon, Davidson and May seen as reaching the tipping point for equal gendered representation in politics. A McKinsey report published in 2015 stated that gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform than their competitors, and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform, and so it is critical to understand what the political parties say about tackling equality and diversity within business.”

Article by Sian Webb – Partnerships Manager @Gapsquare with Equality and Diversity

Read the rest of this article on the Equality and Diversity Website 

The Snap General Election and the Gender Pay Gap – Reflections by Sian Webb, Gapsquare

The Digital Age – A Natural Partner to Diversity

“Technical skills have always been in demand, but Boards need to create a culture, an ecosystem, around digital and digital thinking and this means increasing their functional diversity. If organisations are not disrupting their industries through digital innovation then they will be disrupted – so Boards need to keep pace to survive.” 

These are the words of Harvey Nash,  in “Diversifying Diversity – the next Board frontier”, who also mentions that those with digital expertise, capable of getting ahead of the game on digital technology, are yet to be effectively included in boards as technology “does not have the history and framework of qualification and knowledge of, say, finance that has been bedded into Boards for centuries”. 

At Gapsquare, a tech-based data-analysis company that is working to end the gender pay gap, this is interesting for two reasons:

Harvey Nash notes that whilst the world moves rapidly in terms of digitisation and technology, boards seem to be moving slow. As Nash puts it “Put simply, digital is a relatively new discipline and supply lags behind the market need.” In a digital, technological world, are boards getting out of step with the pace of change? It’s time for us to keep up with developments, and seek out the diverse talents emerging with digitisation. But there is no reason to believe that boards cannot and should not be simultaneously adapting to a more technological and more gender diverse world.

Nash argues that “diversity has become a broader issue than that of gender”, that gender is not the crucial issue for boards anymore; we would argue that progress in all forms, including in an understanding of an ever more technological world, can and should be inclusive of gender diversity. The ability to consider issues from a broad range of perspectives is essential to keeping boards ahead of the game in how a company is run. At present women represented “29 per cent of hires to UK boards last year down from 32.1 per cent in 2014” and only “8% of FTSE directors are non-white”. For us, technological developments are the key solution to these issues and should go hand in had with a greater range of viewpoints in the upper echelons of a business.

 

Is it possible that the gender pay gap and lack of cultural diversity is another symptom of a world that is not keeping on top of digitisation? A board, for example, behind on digital progress, is not representative of the world around them any more than a non gender or ethnically diverse board would be. We’d argue that if boards think fast in a changing world, they would inevitably include members of more diverse groups and those with a range of experience.

 

In a digital, technical, global world, are boards several steps behind? It’s time for us to keep up with developments, and seek out the diverse talents of a digital age. Gender-equality and technological awareness don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Gapsquare, for example, aims to utilise its technological expertise to drive gender diversity in business. Women, minority groups and those from a range of backgrounds, we would argue, should be inherently included more in a fast-paced digital age especially as, right now, it has never been easier to do so.

 

 

 

“Currently amongst CEOs and Chairs of FTSE 100 companies, there are twice as many men called John as there are women. We have been unable to make much progress on this issue because of our subconscious bias and the way we view executive roles and career progression. We have reached an important point when technology can help us reach inclusion at different levels much faster”

Gapsquare CEO Dr. Zara Nanu.

 

The Digital Age – A Natural Partner to Diversity

The Gapsquare Team on Using Data to Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap

The Office of National Statistics puts the national gender pay gap in 2016 at 9.4% for full-time employees, although if you include part-time workers, the pay gap climbs to 18.1%. When you start looking at the breakdown across industries, the differences are even more stark. Construction and building trade supervisors have the highest gap, at a staggering 45%. Financial managers and directors come in second at 36%, even when their workforce has 41% women. This is not to say that other industries have a much smaller, or sometimes negative gender pay gap. In artistic, literary and media occupations, the pay gap is 2.7% with the same composition of the workforce as the finance sector. Hairdressers and barbers are at a negative pay gap of -1.1%, although women account for 90% of the workforce here.

Gapsquare are writing about tackling the Gender Pay Gap in collaboration with Equality & Diversity. Read more at http://bit.ly/2o6LIBz

The Gapsquare Team on Using Data to Eliminate the Gender Pay Gap