We are just a few weeks until the next mandatory gender pay report for all private and public sector employers with more than 250 employees is issued for 2020-2021, after reporting in 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The data, which shows organisations’ mean and median gender pay gaps, bonus pay gaps, and the proportion of men and women in each pay quartile, should make for an interesting read.
All sectors were encouraged to take steps to bridge the gap reported in 2019 and their progress will be scrutinised.
Whilst the public sector failed to narrow its gender pay gap in 2019, with women paid an average 14.1 per cent less an hour than men, it was still below the national average of 17.9 per cent across both the public and private sectors.
So, what can be done to this bridge pay gap in organisations’ finances?
Understanding the pay gap
One sector that came on top of the latest statistics was the “general” charities industry, which had a median hourly gender pay gap of 8 per cent in favour of men, far lower than the averages in the private and public sectors.
Almost nine in 10 public sector organisations, where women make up around two-thirds of employees, reported a median pay gap in favour of men, with more than a third paying men 20 per cent more than women.
Research shows this imbalance gets worse at the top, where employees are expected to undertake managerial responsibilities such as finance and budgeting and/or staffing decisions. Charities have the highest proportion of women across all pay quartiles, 63 per cent in the top pay quartile, as opposed to 54 per cent in the public sector.
What can organisations do to redress the imbalance?
Because hiring and financial rewards decisions have historically been biased, public and not-for-profit employers should set recruitment targets and complete organisation-wide reviews of salaries to track annual compensation progress. This can be done internally or with the help of external independent advisers.
To ensure women’s careers aren’t affected by maternity, organisations are also encouraged to implement policies such as gender-neutral parental leave and supported return to work after parental leave. Flexi-working – which rose during the pandemic - should also be prioritised post-pandemic.
Organisations are now focusing on their recruitment process, by ditching gendered language in job ads to encourage more female talent to apply, as well as using ‘blind hiring’ based on experience and ensuring female presentation on interview panels. At the top, organisations must recognise which voices are not heard, and actively work towards identifying candidates who bring change.
Initiatives such as mentoring, sponsorship and leadership training programmes are also encouraged to help train and support more of female staff to apply for higher paid jobs.
There have been gains in gender diversity in some areas of not-for-profits and the public sector, but there is a long way to go to achieve parity.
If you are looking for help to improve gender equality in your organisation, contact one of our consultants today for advice and guidance.