Women know your place!

In December 2016 I presented “The Gender Pay Gap – what is it and who cares”- to HR Directors at the Oracle User Group. Since the presentation, I have put together this article, complete with slides from the event (but sadly not my thrilling voiceover) for those who didn’t manage to attend and as a re-cap for those that did.

Women should know their place and understand “women’s work”.

Deliberately provocative opener, but only then can we grasp some valid reasons why women get paid less than men, 14% less at the last count! More importantly, I want them to grasp the invalid, illegal, bigoted biases (both conscious and unconscious) and blatant sexism to why a man gets paid more than them.

In the last 6 months a lot’s happened, Hilary nearly broke the ultimate glass ceiling and we had Equal Pay Day, Thursday 10th November, the day of the year after which women on average are “working for free” compared to their male colleagues. The full-time gender pay gap is currently 13.9%, and whilst it’s great to see this closing rapidly in the lower age bands, Deloitte reckon it’s still at least 50 years till we achieve parity. (I’m also a fan of data visualisation in action – compare your own role at the Office for national Statistics website.) 

Whilst I reiterated the difference between gender pay and equal pay during my presentation (and recommended everyone watch the movie “Made in Dagenham“) it’s really interesting that related topics just keep coming up in the news. From female staff at Asda looking to collectively recover more than £100 million in back pay, to Fat Cat Wednesday, with top earners (men) growing richer and richer; less than one in five of the top 1% earners are women. With my HCM friends at Barnardo’s and National Trust, we discussed the research that shows a tendency for hiring managers to recruit in their own image; a key example of unconscious bias that can lead to greater inequality in the workplace if not overseen by a diligent HR professional! Explore this topic and more at your own leisure through the presentation slide found below.

As a good comment on my last blog put it, “the less time clarifying data, the more opportunity for meaningful change”. The new UK legislation for companies to report gender pay gaps is a year away, but if you’re a forward thinking HR professional, shouldn’t this be a strategic objective for 2017? To go beyond these new statutory reporting requirements, and to get some meaningful value and insight from that new expensive Cloud HR system you’ve bought (not to mention reducing the risk of lawsuits and audit.)

Lets use 2017 to show women where their place in the workplace is – as a valued and equally rewarded part of the team.

14% in 2016 – Where do you think the gap will be in 2020? And do you think more reporting legislation will follow?