Tackling the Gender Pay Gap

November 30, 2018 Arnab Banerjee

Colleagues having meeting

2018 may well be a watershed year when it comes to gender pay parity in the UK. This year, for the first time, more than 1000 firms published their gender pay gap reports.

Gender pay reporting legislation, which came into effect in the UK in 2017, requires employers with 250 or more employees in the UK to publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees. The gender pay gap is the pay discrepancy between men and women irrespective of their job or position. There are six calculations to carry out and the results must be published on the employer's website and a government website within a year.

In most cases the figures published had to be validated by the chief executive.

Most organisations, with a few notable exceptions reported significant gender pay gaps. 78% of companies paid men more. In fact, there were no industry sector which paid women more. Men made up most of the higher - Paid jobs and were also paid higher bonuses than women.

Inability to provide more of a level playing field for one half of the work force is not good news from a productivity standpoint in the skills economy we inhabit. The risk for organisations, as highlighted by Towers Watson and Willis, are on four fronts:

Employers have the option to provide a narrative with their calculations and most have tried to explain the reasons for the results giving details about actions that are being taken to reduce or eliminate the gender pay gap.

The heavy lifting required to meet the reporting guidelines and deadline in the years to come will be done by the payroll department with most of the information residing in the payroll applications and the core HCM applications which are often one and the same. However, when it comes to the narration and long-term planning to address the expected pay gaps, it will be down to how organisations intend to manage and develop their talent. ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), Britain's leading impartial authority on workplace relationships and effectiveness, for example, suggests that an employer might want to tackle the underrepresentation of women in their science and engineering roles by running a recruitment campaign for junior roles that particularly encourage women to apply. In the short-term this means more women will be at the starting salaries, which could make the gender pay gap look higher. However, in the longer-term this will balance out and the underrepresentation should be reduced.

Another example would be for organisations to outline in the narrative how they plan to reach out to a hitherto untapped talent pool and develop their succession and leadership assessment criteria free from intentional bias. Or, how they will use their Unified Talent Management (UTM) applications to review performance distribution by gender and their learning experience platforms to sensitise top management about unconscious bias in everyday activities.

Although the headline is about gender pay parity, the subtext is all about attracting, managing and developing talent in keeping with the changing realities of work and worker expectations.

In short, mind the gap but mind the narration even more because the narrative is all about strategic, responsible and innovative talent management for the twenty first century skills economy and how organisations look to address these and how solution providers can help. For instance, we at Cornerstone are having discussions with our customers on how we can help them achieve gender pay parity by identifying pain points and explaining how our solutions can help address some of their problems:

Example problems that contribute to gender pay gap

Enabling tools than can provide solutions to the problems

Lack of a suitable Learning platform and relevant content to sensitise top management

Cornerstone Learning Experience Platform and Content Anytime

Unable to review talent pool & performance distribution by gender

Performance Management, Career Planning, Succession Planning and Analytics solutions from Cornerstone

Difficulty in attracting diverse talent

Cornerstone Recruitment Solution

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