The Gender pay gap is not a problem.

The Gender pay gap is one of the most-discussed topics in our hemisphere this spring. Just after International Women’s Day and several protests in major European countries, we’re approaching the big day in the UK: the deadline for companies to publish gender pay gap data.

So far, only a third of companies that are legally obliged to release the data have done so.* The official deadline is 4th April (30th March for the public sector). The common assumption is that most companies have the reports ready to publish but they might be sitting on the data to delay the public outcry.

But what can we do to address the gender pay gap?

There are a few things that you may want to try.

The first thing is to simply acknowledge the issue.

The gender pay gap exists. The average for the UK is around 9% (2017)** but for some companies, it exceeds 50%.

Feel free to check the gender pay reporting tool, this great calculator will show you hourly rates for each gender, you can also analyse bonus pay.

Secondly, be aware that we can be influenced by this phenomenon to a larger extent than we think.

Look from a wider perspective – automatically check how many women you’re seeing perform low-paid jobs and how many men compared to women are part of the C-suite.

The third point, perhaps most important, is understanding that the gender pay gap is not a problem.

It is just one of the effects of the underlying issues that are not working optimally in the economy. To truly get a grasp of what’s happening we need to understand what’s behind the data. A lower hourly rate is just a reflection of other policies and procedures that we’ve got in place. We need to start asking ourselves hard questions, such as how open we are to the idea of a part-time worker, how flexible the working hours we offer are or how we’re supporting our employees in acquiring new skills and adapting to the ever-changing world.

Then, you may want to take a good look at your environment. 

If you’re a business owner or a manager, check the salaries of your team members and make sure there are no discrepancies. Again, look wider and think about who’s usually volunteering for new assignments or who’s preparing for a promotion. well done if you’ve got a fair ratio. If not – think about how you could support the change to get a more balanced proportion.

If you’re curious about how the company you work for is doing in terms of equality – we encourage you to check out this fantastic tool.

It may be a real eye-opener for you.

As we know, the gender pay gap is a complicated challenge and it will take a long time to overcome it. With increased awareness and joint effort, we can make a difference. Check your data regularly and evaluate/review the procedures you have in place to make sure you’re supporting the progress.

Hayley Rose is a Director in the Legal Division at Harvey John

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