Now you can mind the pay gap

The re­sults are in for your com­pany’s gen­der pay split – but what do you do next?

Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot Stories -

IT’S BEEN THREE LONG YEARS since Grazia’s ju­bi­lant vic­tory in the House of Lords with our Mind the Pay Gap cam­paign. Along­side the Fawcett So­ci­ety, Labour MPS Glo­ria De Piero and Sarah Cham­pion, and flanked by ac­tress Gemma Arter­ton (who starred in mu­si­cal Made In

Da­gen­ham) and the orig­i­nal ladies of Ford Da­gen­ham, who went on strike for equal pay in 1968, we suc­cess­fully pushed through an amend­ment to Sec­tion 78 of the Equal­ity Act 2010. This change means com­pa­nies with over 250 em­ploy­ees are legally bound to de­clare their male to fe­male earn­ing splits, and those who don’t will face hefty fines or even le­gal ac­tion.

This week marks the dead­line for those 9,000 com­pa­nies to re­veal the re­sults – so we can find out how the gen­der pay gap af­fects all of us. And with the me­dian na­tional av­er­age hourly wage dif­fer­ence cur­rently at 18.4% (down just 0.6% in the in­ter­ven­ing years since we started the cam­paign), this means there’s still a long way to go to achieve par­ity.

But as 15 mil­lion em­ploy­ees be­come armed with the de­tails of how their

work­place is per­form­ing, the shift will surely pick up pace from here. Be­cause, now we have the in­for­ma­tion, we have the tools we need to chal­lenge it. Sam Smethers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Fawcett So­ci­ety, says, ‘ The in­flu­en­tial Fawcett So­ci­ety and Grazia cam­paign to se­cure gen­der pay gap re­port­ing is now fi­nally pay­ing off. There is nowhere for large em­ploy­ers to hide any more. Many don’t like what they are find­ing. The smart com­pa­nies are putting ac­tion plans in place, for ex­am­ple, to get more women into se­nior roles, or to open up flex­i­ble work­ing and part-time work. But this is also prompt­ing women to have those con­ver­sa­tions about pay and break the taboo. It is only with full trans­parency that we can tackle the dis­crim­i­na­tion that still ex­ists in our work­places.’

The BBC faced crit­i­cism when they an­nounced their gen­der pay gap early last au­tumn, de­spite its 9% di­vide be­ing nar­rower than many com­pa­nies. Valerie Hughes-d’aeth, the cor­po­ra­tion’s group HR di­rec­tor, says the trans­parency – and the neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity it sparked – has led to a com­mit­ment to real change. ‘Pay at the BBC has been a well-pub­li­cised is­sue and we are de­ter­mined to en­sure we go fur­ther and faster than any other broad­caster in ad­dress­ing any prob­lems,’ she says. ‘ Tony Hall, the BBC’S di­rec­tor-gen­eral, has com­mit­ted the or­gan­i­sa­tion to clos­ing the gen­der pay gap by 2020, set­ting out a range of mea­sures to help us achieve the tar­get.’

Although the 1970 Equal Pay Act means it is il­le­gal to pay peo­ple dif­fer­ently for the same role, there are still dif­fer­ences in the types of jobs men and women hold, which re­sults in the drift be­tween their pay. Many women also opt for more flex­i­ble – and there­fore of­ten less skilled – po­si­tions. Karen Mat­ti­son, joint CEO of Time­wise, which works to un­lock the flex­i­ble jobs mar­ket in the UK, says: ‘ There is a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween the nar­row­ing out of op­por­tu­ni­ties to work part-time or flex­i­bly up the tal­ent pipe­line, and the thin­ning out of women in more se­nior roles.’ There­fore, one of the ways to solve the gen­der pay di­vide is to cre­ate roles that can be done flex­i­bly up to top-level po­si­tions. ‘UK busi­nesses are now pre­sented with a chance to drive change. The in­tro­duc­tion of flex­i­ble work­ing can make a real dif­fer­ence to an or­gan­i­sa­tion’s abil­ity to close the gap and ben­e­fits all, not least the women who may need to work flex­i­bly, al­low­ing them to con­tinue pro­gress­ing up the ca­reer lad­der.’

Some out­stand­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions have been un­veiled in the process, and we hope oth­ers will fol­low their ex­am­ple. Women at me­dia com­pany En­de­mol Shine dis­cov­ered they work in the utopia of a neg­a­tive pay gap, where fe­male em­ploy­ees earn 4% more than their male coun­ter­parts. Bella Lam­bourne, their HR and op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor, says, ‘ We have an al­most 50:50 gen­der bal­ance in se­nior roles within the group and have worked hard to en­sure that peo­ple are be­ing re­warded fairly for the work they do.’

Un­for­tu­nately, the re­sults re­leased so far show that, on av­er­age, we still earn just shy of 82p on a man’s pound. Which means there is still a lot of work to be done. But now we have knowl­edge, hope­fully we also have power.

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Glo­ria De Piero backed the 2014 Grazia cam­paign

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