Gender pay gap reporting

6 April 2018

Gender pay gap reporting

Gender pay gap reporting: blunt tool or a powerful stiletto?

Following the last-minute rush to post submissions on gender pay gap reporting (an estimated 1,200 submitted on the final day) we have seen a flurry of activity in sharing data points. As the analysis on best and worst performers is hitting the headlines, we consider the real power of the gender pay gap in organisations.

The gender pay gap measures the difference in the hourly rate paid to men and women in organisations with more than 250 employees. As expected, the reporting has identified a gap. The national average is 15.2% according to the website www.genderpaygap.uk.

So what’s next?

Reporting on the gender pay gap without any ramifications may be viewed as a blunt instrument by critics, however transparency can be hugely powerful. In my work with companies who are committed to changing their culture to become more inclusive, the pivotal point at which a nice to have becomes an imperative is when the CEO and the team recognise the reputational damage they suffer when dealing with recruitment from graduate to executive levels. Brand and reputational management is where gender pay gap reporting becomes a powerful tool. If you are not convinced, consider the latest campaign aimed at FTSE 350 companies from the 30% Club. Co-chair Brenda Trenowden shared how the threat of naming companies that had not signed up to the charter in the Financial Times earlier this year sent a wave of panic over many companies and a flurry of activity in time for the January deadline.

Progress around building a gender balance across organisations is slower than we expect when we consider how much activity and attention is invested through networks, events and the level of noise around this area on social media. We will be publishing the two-year update on women in leadership across the Commonwealth at the Heads of Government Summit in mid-April. Our findings demonstrate a fragmented and complex landscape with fantastic progress, but also disheartening decline of women in leadership roles across the public, private and political sectors. Despite good intentions and a plethora of activities, without a clear goal and measurable outcome progress can be slow at best, and at worst decline.

The gender pay gap reporting is a powerful stiletto. It allows transparency for individuals to make more choices about where they work and how they are rewarded. The prestige of a company with a strong brand will be tarnished if they are not seen to be remedying the gender pay gap, and this diminishes their appeal to talented women, from graduate to executive level. The next twelve months provides a challenging time for companies to prove they are taking gender diversity seriously by reducing the gender pay gap.