The Government Equalities Office has recently issued new guidance for employers on actions they can take to support women’s progress in the workplace. It is hoped that this will help to close the gender pay gap and increase gender equality in the workplace.
The gender pay gap is still a live issue and of the 10,444 companies that published their gender pay gap figures on 4 April 2019, we saw that:-
- the median reduced marginally from 9.7% to 9.6% but was still in favour of men;
- 45% of companies saw an increase in the gender pay gap from last year;
- 78% of companies still pay men more than women with the medium being 27%; and
- some companies are paying women 20% less than their male counterparts.
The guidance from the Government Equalities Office consists of an infographic poster and an action note; and explains that one of they key drivers of the gender pay gap is that women are not progressing in the workplace as much as their talents would allow. It emphasises that this is a result of women being more likely to work part-time, and the affect that it can have on pay progression.
The guidance identifies five areas which can help combat this issue:
- Create an inclusive culture
Although being equally as talented as other staff, women can often feel they do not fit in which can result in lower performance and ambition. By creating an inclusive workplace, employees will feel more valued which can lead to a positive outcome for organisations.
- Support women’s career development
There is evidence to suggest that women are not given the same opportunities and development support as men, and are often not exposed to challenging work, networking and development opportunities if they work part-time. By focusing on an individual’s talents and achievements and ensuring they exposed to these areas can assist them in progressing.
- Improve recruitment and promotion processes
Potential applicants can often find it difficult to determine whether they have the right skills and experience as generic criteria is often used, which can often disadvantage women during the recruitment process. It is important to ensure that there is structure and transparency to recruitment as this can reduce bias and increase the number of successful female applicants during appointment and promotion processes.
- Progression for part-time workers
Working part-time can often generate limited wage progression and have connotations of lack of ability and ambition. However, it should be recognised that part-time workers can be skilled and experience, and dedicated to their career too.
- Measure and evaluate policies to support diversity and inclusion
Policies and procedures should be measured and evaluated in order to identify progress and address any problems. Specific, time-bound objectives should be set to help track progression and should be openly publicised within your organisation to demonstrate that you are committed to tackling gender inequality.
There is no easy or quick fix to the gender pay gap. In the reports of the 4 April 2019, EasyJet had an increased gap of 47.9%. Their response was that they had recruited more women at the more junior level with a view that they are taking a long-term approach, which would balance out their gender pay gap.
We would suggest that you continue to review your gender pay gap and, if it becomes apparent that there is a gender pay gap, because there is disparity in pay which could give rise to risks of challenge, ensure that you have a strategy in place to tackle the issue. Perhaps drawing upon the Government Equalities Office guidance.
A consistent, transparent and concerted effort will be your best rule of thumb.
If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this article, do not hesitate to contact a member of the employment team.
For more information please visit the pages below.
Gov.uk - Womens progression in the workplace actions for employers