New regulations came into force this April that require companies with over 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap. But what does this mean?
“The snap general election was mainly focused on Brexit, yet all parties produced manifestos which will pave the way for policy and governance over the next five years.”
Gapsquare’s Dr Zara Nanu joined teams of academics, industry experts, government representatives and policy makers at this year’s annual STEM Gender Equality Congress on the 8th and the 9th June where she spoke on Sharing Best Practice Between Industry and Academia.
“Technical skills have always been in demand, but Boards need to create a culture, an ecosystem, around digital and digital thinking and this means increasing their functional diversity. If organisations are not disrupting their industries through digital innovation then they will be disrupted – so Boards need to keep pace to survive.”
These are the words of Harvey Nash, in “Diversifying Diversity – the next Board frontier”, who also mentions that those with digital expertise, capable of getting ahead of the game on digital technology, are yet to be effectively included in boards as technology “does not have the history and framework of qualification and knowledge of, say, finance that has been bedded into Boards for centuries”.
At Gapsquare, a tech-based data-analysis company that is working to end the gender pay gap, this is interesting for two reasons:
It was a beautiful Friday in the office, and Sabrina, Gapsquare’s youngest team member had had enough of hearing that it would take over 100 years to close the gender pay gap.
At Gapsquare we have worked with over 70 companies in the past 18 months who have taken the initiative on solving their gender pay gap and made use of our online tool that analyses and explains their gap for them.
It’s an interesting world out there for women and men in work. With some industries demonstrating higher workplace inequality than others. Construction and Building Trades Supervisors, for example, are demonstrating a gender pay gap of 45%!
Can we take a moment to take that in? Women in that particular field are likely to be working just as hard as men, but for almost half the pay.
Despite certain (American Presidential) comments that women would hypothetically make the same as men if they were to do as good a job, there’s no reason to believe that female Construction and Building Trades Supervisors are falling asleep at their desks or taking coffee breaks twice as often as men. I’m not even sure it’s possible to sleep that much whilst drinking that much coffee. So where do these problems coming from?
The Office of National Statistics puts the national gender pay gap in 2016 at 9.4% for full-time employees, although if you include part-time workers, the pay gap climbs to 18.1%. When you start looking at the breakdown across industries, the differences are even more stark. Construction and building trade supervisors have the highest gender pay gap, at a staggering 45%. Financial managers and directors come in second at 36%, even when their workforce has 41% women. This is not to say that other industries have a much smaller, or sometimes negative gender pay gap. In artistic, literary and media occupations, the pay gap is 2.7% with the same composition of the workforce as the finance sector. Hairdressers and barbers are at a negative pay gap of -1.1%, although women account for 90% of the workforce here.
About a year ago, we were talking to a group of 7 year olds about the gender pay gap. The children were quick to point out that men and women do different kinds of jobs, and there are not that many women in construction because “a brick could fall on a woman’s head and hurt her”, among other reasons. We asked, “and what would happen if, say, a brick fell on a man’s head?”. This was met with thoughtfulness and perplexed consideration.
For law firms across the country, the 2017 gender pay gap regulations represent an opportunity. As the deadline for the analysis of the Gender Pay Gap and Bonus Gap for the The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 grows closer, the urgency for legal firms is both in demonstrating positive action within their own organisations and in providing clients with necessary legal support and practical guidance for compliance. It’s high time to assume the mantle as leaders in ending the pay gap, and inspire those you work with to do the same.
Under new laws, companies with over 250 employees will have to publish data about their gender pay gap in 2018. As the discussion grows around why the gender pay gap is still such a pertinent issue for business leaders, so does the confusion about what it is we actually mean by a ‘gender pay gap’. The fact is, the problem, just like all issues of diversity and fairness, is not straightforward. That’s why the team at Gapsquare are working to keep it simple, both in terms of understanding the gender pay gap, and understanding what can be done about it.