Insights from Manchester by Sian Webb – Partnerships Manager at Gapsquare
I had the pleasure of attending a joint event with PwC and the Government Equalities Office in Manchester on Tuesday 17 July. It was an interesting event because we heard from the GEO and two early pay gap reporters – PricewaterhouseCoopers and the first public sector organisation to report, Doncaster City Council.
PricewaterhouseCoopers discussed the complexities involved in processing data collection, number crunching, reporting and importantly, communicating your message. PwC has a long history of reporting on their pay gap, and so this was not a new task for them to complete, however, they expressed the importance of communicating your message carefully and transparently with your staff, especially when media outlets can be sensationalist. It then becomes critical to ensure that your staff understand the numbers that are being projected, the narrative behind them, and consequently, what actions you are taking moving forward to reduce your gap.
Doncaster Council has only just reported their figures and discussed two key areas – the difficulties and length of time it takes to get to the point where you need to report and then the importance of understanding what your data tells you about your organisation. Doncaster Council has numerous different and complex pay structures and even after having to pull and cleanse their data, they have had to run their calculations through about five times! Learning from Doncaster Council, gender pay gap reporting has not been an easy and fluid process for them.
Three interesting questions emerged in the Q&A session following the two presentations:
- What was the rational for excluding partners?
The Government Equalities Office recognise that there are many different complex pay structures in different companies, and trying to find a way of including partners who often don’t take salaries would be too challenging for some employers. Whilst it was acknowledged that often, partners salaries are the ones in the higher paid positions and gives a fairer reflection of the gender pay gap, there is hope that there would still be some transparency over revealing partner salaries amongst large companies. Watching how large companies report their gender pay gap and whether they include partner info will be interesting in the coming months. At Gapsquare, we recommend running your data through our tool both with and without partners, to look at how your numbers compare and so that you can take clear, demonstrable action to tackle the gender pay gap across your company, and encourage more women to become partners.
- How do you make metrics matter?
Around the room, it was acknowledged that it wasn’t about the numbers, but about making them matter. Doncaster Council had gone beyond just the numbers, and analysed by pay grades to allow them to understand what makes up their gender pay gap and what they can do to reduce it. They also acknowledged that this takes time.
The great news is that this is where Gapsquare comes in – we take your data and get instant insights on more than just compliance – we analyse by department, job level, education, location as well as ethnicity, meaning that you can spend time tackling the difficult bit – working out what you need to do to reduce your pay gap.
- What will the Government Equalities Office do in terms of verifying our data is correct?
There seems to be a lot of concern and worry that companies may make mistakes – what happens if we make a mistake with the formula? What if we exclude or include the wrong elements of pay or employees?
Luckily, Gapsquare can help with this too! We have a free tool that allows companies to upload their data and run their numbers through to see if their mean and median pay gap numbers are correct! This allows for some comfort and peace of mind.
Check out our free tool at www.gapsquare.com today.