The gender pay gap is big news again as some of our favourite BBC presenters (all male) announce they’re agreeing to pay cuts, in a bid from the Beeb to address the disparity.
What the law says for big businesses
Employment law legislation requires that employers with 250 or more staff publish their reports about gender and pay. It’s likely that companies such as the British Museum – where there’s zero difference in pay between the genders, will have their pick of the bunch when it comes to recruiting. With both men and women feeling reassured and refreshed that they are applying to a company that really and truly values equality.
What about small businesses?
Small and medium businesses are in a fantastic position in relation to the pay gap issue. Whilst the number of employees means that you don’t have to legally or publicly publish your data yet, addressing equality of pay couldn’t be easier whilst your business is still relatively small, and it needs to happen everywhere not just in the bigger companies.
There are a few steps you can take to crack this nut and get your ducks in order so you’re one step ahead of the game. When the company grows to over 250, or the legislation changes to include smaller businesses, you can be quietly smug, safe in the knowledge that you have it all in hand. In doing so there are almost certainly added benefits for the business too!
Steps you can take now
- Establish exactly who does what and how much they get paid.
- Look forward and modernise! Get love for your company by conveying to the world that you are managing a brand that’s forward thinking and on the ball with equal opportunities! This socially conscious edge could increase sales and brand loyalty in a world that loves to buy into a product that cares. As the company builds a great rep, it’s likely to entice better and more diverse candidates to work for you too.
- Diversify from the top down
This is the perfect opportunity to update your HR system. HR software today allows for easy viewing of all salaries (as below). At the click of a button, you can see exactly who is paid what, including bonuses, benefits and overtime. If there are gender differences in pay for similar roles, consider why this might be. If it seems that the only reason for a difference is gender, this could be in breach of discrimination laws and should be addressed immediately.
In addition, letting your current staff know that you’re aware of the issue (and are addressing any unfair differences by immediately equalising pay) will boost morale no end.
If you’re part of a medium-size business with several management roles, are they all male? Are they all female? Gender equality filters down from the top, you can consider diversifying your management staff. If you notice that there seems to be a bias for hiring one or other gender, you might consider if there’s some subconscious discrimination at play (there may not be!). The gender pay gap stems from out-dated notions of women’s roles, and to avoid this kind of discrimination it might pay to have a closer look at recruitment and training processes and make sure they offer equal opportunities to both sexes.
Perhaps there are opportunities available to men as well as women to work flexibly and play a bigger role in family life, in turn allowing women to undertake full-time work as well if they choose.
2018 – the age of technology! (and equality)
If you still store employee data manually, on spreadsheets or in filing cabinets, happily, the glorious new HR software available can lift you out of this paperwork hell.
Why is this relevant to closing the gender pay gap?
Here’s why; Hr software means the data you’ll need to access (to spot any pay gaps) is easily accessible. It keeps all the relevant information safe and in one place so with this issue and many others it’s all there and ready for you in an easily digestible format. As legislation surrounding employment law, reporting and data handling increases, it’s more important than ever (and more useful) for small businesses to move over to a cloud-based HR system, so that whatever issue may arise your company is organised and ready!
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