Our consultant, Geoff Pearce, takes a look at the lessons we can learn from the more successful reports to date.
The recent flurry of media coverage around organisations reporting their gender pay gaps has highlighted the need to control the narrative.
Although the legal requirements in relation to the gender pay calculations are fairly simple, the process to get to that point is more complex, and it would be a mistake not to go beyond the basics and produce a more comprehensive report.
Often, the figures being reported don’t provide an understanding of the causes behind the gap. Digging deeper into the findings allows businesses to put in place robust plans that will make a real difference in future years. The detail can also provide much needed context regarding factors that can influence the figures, like the composition of your workforce, for example.
The press has shown a keen appetite to report the findings and, given the expectation that there will be substantial disparities, we can expect this to continue. With more than 9,000 firms required to publish their statistics by April 5, we can learn from the few who have done so more successfully – presenting the complex information in a simple way, facilitated through comprehensive reporting.
There are three clear lessons that we can learn from the more successful reports to date:
1. Think about the composition of your workforce
Make sure your reporting takes the composition of your workforce into account. Organisations need to ensure that the analysis is detailed enough to factor in the variety of employee groups within an organisation, as well as the many permutations that can affect pay.
For example, organisations can exclude employees when pay is not at its normal rate. So anyone receiving statutory pay due to maternity, adoption, parental or shared leave, or because of sickness could fall into this category.
2. What’s the story behind the figures?
Organisations can prevent people from drawing their own conclusions by controlling the narrative. Companies can submit commentary alongside their official pay gap figures. By taking advantage of this opportunity, they can explain any understandable reasons why a pay gap exists.
It also provides companies with a chance to highlight what they are doing to close that gap. For example, it might provide an opportunity to talk about an initiative to increase the number of female hires.
3. Give yourself time to respond to any uncomfortable findings
Companies are running out of time to report their figures – and what has become clear is that we cannot simply publish the findings without further thought. The analysis needs to be detailed and the commentary considered.
We also need to face the possibility that we might not like what we find. If this is the case, organisations may need to give themselves time to think about how they want to respond. If they have programmes in place to address gender inequality, they might want to consider boosting the resources being put into these. This could then be highlighted in the commentary submitted.
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