According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the gender pay gap fell in 2020 – particularly in higher level roles such as managers, directors and senior officials.

The difference in pay for full-time male and female employees dropped to 7.4% (compared to 9% in 2019). But for those in senior roles, there was a bigger drop to 9.9% from 16.3%. This group includes office managers and supervisors, along with other higher level commercial roles.

This is clearly great news, but there is certainly much more work still to be done to secure equality in the UK’s workplaces.

Addressing the gender pay gap at your company

Currently, only companies with 250 or more staff are required by the UK Government to report their gender pay gap information. If your business has recently grown, you may be facing pay gap reporting issues for the first time.

Alternatively, you might be a smaller organisation which is not legally obligated to report, but which still has a strong commitment to eliminating differences in pay between your male and female employees. 

Whichever is the case, you might need a little help getting started. After all, this is a complex and challenging problem you’re trying to overcome.

Here are some key things to start thinking about, where you may be able to spot the signs of a gender pay gap problem:

  • Do male or female employees get ‘stuck’ at a particular level within your organisation? If women are more likely to be recruited into lower paid roles, and the proportion of women in senior roles is low – this is a clear sign of an issue. 
  • Starting salaries and bonuses which differ by gender. Take a closer look at the detail of the roles you’re advertising, and the typical gender of the employees who fill them within your company. Some research also shows that men tend to negotiate their pay more than women, so this could be affecting starting salaries.
  • What salary do men and women leave your company at? This is a good indication of the progression opportunities (or lack of) within your organisation.
  • Progression opportunities and support for part-time employees. Women are more likely than men to work part-time, often due to caring responsibilities. Another thing to look at is how your company supports both men and women to take on caring responsibilities.
  • Gender imbalance in promotions – are more men than women being promoted? Is there equality in the salary increases for promoted male and female employees?

How to start closing the gap

Addressing gender pay gap issues won’t happen overnight. The first and most crucial step is to identify inequalities, then you can implement a plan to begin closing the gap.

This could include evidence-backed measures such as using skill-based assessment tasks and structured interviews when recruiting, and including multiple women in shortlists for promotion. Transparency around pay, promotion and reward can help to reduce pay inequalities, as can appointing diversity task forces to keep an eye on talent management processes.

Need help developing a diverse hiring strategy? First 4 Recruitment is the perfect choice, as we’re committed to playing our part in closing the gender pay gap in the commercial sector. Get in touch for a tailored recruitment plan that meets your goals.  

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