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How Gapsquare helped us lead on closing the pay gap in the public sector

Posted by Hazel Lush on Sep 20, 2018 4:10:42 PM

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At Gapsquare, we were proud that the Greater London Authority (GLA) chose to calculate their gender and ethnicity pay gap numbers using the Gapsquare Software, and inspired to hear that Patrick, their Human Resources Manager subsequently joined us on secondment to continue to address pay inequality with Gapsquare, and at the same time, build a better future for his daughters.

The GLA responded proactively to the current Mayor of London’s commitment to encouraging pay gap reporting and was an early adopter of the pay gap reporting requirements. They have led the public sector in their response and sense of responsibility for this data and continue to be proactively engaged in this issue. Having calculated the first gender pay gap report using spreadsheets, the organisation decided that they would do future reporting using the Gapsquare software. In this brief interview, we learn about Patrick’s career, his experience of the pay gap reporting both with and without Gapsquare, and why he’s helping public sector organisations make the most of Gapsquare.

 ‘It’s great to hear your inspiration for closing the pay gap Patrick, but where does it come from? How did you get where you are today?’ 

“Well, it goes back a long way… I guess my first involvement in the public sector was as a generalist personnel officer in a polytechnic.  Historically, personnel had its roots in welfare, however over the years as the discipline became more business focused it became known as ‘Human Resources’, which is how I came to be a Human Resources Manager.

The polytechnic I was working at became a university and as I built up experience this took me to another role at a university where I became Head of Human Resources, responsible for the whole function. In summer 2000 I moved to the GLA, where I established the HR unit. The role at the GLA evolves through each mayoral cycle, but the GLA has long produced and published employee related data for which I have always been the lead officer. Our underlying principle is to have a workforce that represents the economically active population which we serve, so regularly monitoring the employee profile has been key. At the GLA, from the very beginning, equality and diversity was key to its functioning and as a result of work on pay gap analysis we came across Gapsquare.”

‘And when did publishing the gender pay gap first come to the forefront for your team?’

“The current mayor, Sadiq Khan committed to publishing the gender pay gap for the GLA before he was elected. A few months after he was elected, we at the GLA started our pay gap analysis and produced and published the gender pay gap with the Mayor’s backing. This received considerable press attention not least because when we published, we did so at the same time as a number of other GLA organisations, including the London Fire Brigade, London Metropolitan Police and Transport for London. This covered around 75,000 staff in total.”

‘What made you look for a new solution to pay gap reporting?’

“Around this time, I met Zara (Gapsquare’s CEO) at a conference in London; Zara was speaking and I was sharing my experience of having gone through the process of preparing and publishing a gender pay gap report. Then in 2017 when the pay gap regulations officially came in, I remembered making that connection with Zara and invited the Gapsquare team in to do a demo of their software. Suffice to say we were suitably impressed – we procured a licence and it transformed our entire approach.” 

‘And what were the benefits of using Gapsquare over the more traditional method?

“When we reported the pay gap originally, it took us about two and a half weeks to do all of the calculations and check it for accuracy. The Gapsquare tool made it possible to do this in about a day and a half and this included producing data far beyond what was required for statutory purposes. Originally, we had used excel to report on the pay gap and rogue information could easily throw our data out and set us back days, and the stakes were very high for ensuring this data  was accurate.  Luckily, we found that weeks of work was matched by the tool instantly. We knew the tool was accurate because we had worked hard on the process previously, and Gapsquare had come up with the same results. The GLA went on to introduce Gapsquare to the rest of the GLA group bodies with the London Metropolitan Police going on to procure a licence for their reporting covering in-excess of 40k staff.”

‘What does the public sector have to do now, if they are going to lead on Equality & Diversity?’

“The public sector is more regulated than the private sector in terms of diversity and inclusion. Developing a comprehensive action plan in response to their gender pay gap reporting will contribute to a public organisation satisfying its public sector equality duty and I think that a lot of organisations are realising that the headline figures aren’t enough. For example, the pay gap for an organisation could be 20% but this could be driven by only one part of the organisation. You wouldn’t know that if you hadn’t delved deeper into the data.

I believe organisations must have the ability to slice and dice information by different variables to really understand where the gender pay gap is, why it exists and enable a targeted response to address the underlying reasons for the gap.  Deep diving into data can be done using spreadsheets but significant expertise is required and a lot of time. This is why it’s so great to have an ‘app’ that allows you to look at a wide range of variables and with a few clicks of the mouse, and save yourself weeks of work.”

‘What made you decide to come and work with Gapsquare as our Public Sector Engagement and Business Development Manager?’

“The social good and social-impact ethos of Gapsquare really resonates with me, I have two 18-year-old daughters who will be moving into the labour market in a few years’ time and I want to make things better for them and their peers. It’s fair to say I want my daughters, and future generations to be rewarded on the basis of their abilities and contributions rather than being disadvantaged as a result of their gender or ethnicity.  That was a key factor in deciding to join the Gapsquare team and be part of the programme working towards addressing pay inequity.  I felt this was something I could really be proud of.

Another reason, from my perspective, was that Gapsquare works so well because it is so focused on what practitioners want. It is designed and developed around the needs of the user, as opposed to what the programmers/developers think is useful. As a human resources professional and a user, I have been able to experience Gapsquare’s superb functionality and considerable understanding of what is going on in terms of pay inequality. Having good quality data to focus and underpin targeted actions really works.  That’s why Gapsquare is used at the GLA and why I am working hard to encourage other public sector bodies to use the tool.  It will save time and money and enable officer time to be spent on meaningful activity tackling the problem. It will also, as I mentioned before, help us to build a better future for upcoming generations, including my two daughters.”

 

Footnote:

Patrick is on secondment from the Greater London Authority to Gapsquare for a year. At the end of his secondment he will return to the GLA and resume his role as Human Resources Manager providing an HR Business Partner service as well as picking up his corporate responsibilities including being the lead officer for reporting of employee data.

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