Six tips for helping to bridge your organisation’s gender pay gap Six tips for helping to bridge your organisation’s gender pay gap

Six tips for helping to bridge your organisation’s gender pay gap
21 Sep 2017

According to the World Economic Forum, gender equality in workplaces around the globe is unlikely to be realised until at least 2095 – and nowhere is this lack of equity more true that in relation to pay. So how can payroll professionals play their part in tackling the situation?

Figures cited by the US Institute for Women’s Policy Research revealed that in 2015, the ratio of women’s to men’s median annual earnings was 79.6% for full-time/year-round workers, putting the gender wage gap at 20.4%.

In January 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the figure at more like 83% if the focus was on male median weekly earnings, which meant that women were taking home $719 compared to men’s $871. So with these discrepancies in mind, here are some suggestions as to what HR and payroll managers can do to help reduce the pay gap:

 1. Link pay to market value

Evidence suggests that some women, despite being effective negotiators in their job role, can struggle when it comes to negotiating a good pay rise for themselves. As a result, it is important to work with line managers to understand what the composition of different positions, their value to the organisation and what the going market rate for such posts are.

Roles typically dominated by either males or females should always be compared based on complexity and the skills required in order to ensure parity. Job offers should be based on market rates rather than what candidates have previously earned. This approach reduces the risk that women will be penalised in salary terms based on previous unequal treatment.

2. Monitor promotions and pay rises in a bid to remove bias

Women with similar qualifications to men should, in theory, progress equally through the organisation from the time they are appointed. To ensure that the playing field is more even than it currently is though, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

 • Were individuals placed in jobs with similar pay and promotion opportunities as some posts inevitably have better prospects than others?

• Were all staff members offered the same opportunities to boost skills that ultimately lead to management roles?

• Do all sales people have the same earnings potential as some business areas are likely to be more lucrative than others? Also does everyone have access to the same salary increments and bonuses?

 3. Conduct annual salary reviews to keep in line with industry standards

It is important to run a salary comparison survey each year in order to determine whether remuneration packages have stayed equitable. Compare these packages with market rates and if any employees are out of sync, adjust their salary accordingly, citing the research as the reason behind the move.

 “If the business has nothing to hide and is keen to address gender pay gap issues, publish a salary range for each job/grade.”

4. Keep an eye on salary levels across departments to ensure parity

Encourage discussion and comparison between departments to ensure that pay is comparable across functions. It is also useful for HR to facilitate meetings between different managers to openly discuss annual targets for pay scales. Doing so should result in the creation of more realistic, achievable goals.

 5. Encourage transparency in relation to remuneration packages

If the business has nothing to hide and is keen to address gender pay gap issues, publish a salary range for each job/grade. You could even go one step further and publish the criteria that determine pay rises and bonuses. This kind of transparency enables staff to see where they sit within pay grades, which is not only reassuring, but also highlights unfair anomalies and provides an opportunity to address the situation if there are any.

 6. Support flexible working

A flexible work culture generates more benefits for organisations than its name might suggest at first glance. Flexible working enables staff (most often women) to balance their work with caring for children or elderly parents, helping to reduce the stress of juggling both commitments and reducing the need for them to take career breaks. As a result, this approach not only helps the organisation to retain talented personnel, it also ensures that women can continue with their careers while undertaking caring responsibilities. There are also further benefits in both recruitment and productivity terms.

 Conclusion

In order to start truly tackling inequity between male and female workers, employers need to place more emphasis on valuing the unique qualities of both men and women. Rather than focusing on supporting one gender and blaming the other, it is more productive to understand how each thinks and communicates and concentrate on training to help people understand each other better.

Taking this kind of joined-up approach will be far more effective in the long-term than simply recruiting lots of new women to hit the latest quota.

 

 

Emma Clare is a marketing manager at Carval Computing, a provider of HR and payroll software aimed at both public and private sector organisations. In the past, she worked for a number of large and small to medium enterprises and has specialised in working with IT systems, HR and payroll for the last nine years. A key part of her current role is working with clients on identifying their HR system requirements before coming up with possible solutions

According to the World Economic Forum, gender equality in workplaces around the globe is unlikely to be realised until at least 2095 – and nowhere is this lack of equity more true that in relation to pay. So how can payroll professionals play their part in tackling the situation?

Figures cited by the US Institute for Women’s Policy Research revealed that in 2015, the ratio of women’s to men’s median annual earnings was 79.6% for full-time/year-round workers, putting the gender wage gap at 20.4%.

In January 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the figure at more like 83% if the focus was on male median weekly earnings, which meant that women were taking home $719 compared to men’s $871. So with these discrepancies in mind, here are some suggestions as to what HR and payroll managers can do to help reduce the pay gap:

 1. Link pay to market value

Evidence suggests that some women, despite being effective negotiators in their job role, can struggle when it comes to negotiating a good pay rise for themselves. As a result, it is important to work with line managers to understand what the composition of different positions, their value to the organisation and what the going market rate for such posts are.

Roles typically dominated by either males or females should always be compared based on complexity and the skills required in order to ensure parity. Job offers should be based on market rates rather than what candidates have previously earned. This approach reduces the risk that women will be penalised in salary terms based on previous unequal treatment.

2. Monitor promotions and pay rises in a bid to remove bias

Women with similar qualifications to men should, in theory, progress equally through the organisation from the time they are appointed. To ensure that the playing field is more even than it currently is though, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

 • Were individuals placed in jobs with similar pay and promotion opportunities as some posts inevitably have better prospects than others?

• Were all staff members offered the same opportunities to boost skills that ultimately lead to management roles?

• Do all sales people have the same earnings potential as some business areas are likely to be more lucrative than others? Also does everyone have access to the same salary increments and bonuses?

 3. Conduct annual salary reviews to keep in line with industry standards

It is important to run a salary comparison survey each year in order to determine whether remuneration packages have stayed equitable. Compare these packages with market rates and if any employees are out of sync, adjust their salary accordingly, citing the research as the reason behind the move.

 “If the business has nothing to hide and is keen to address gender pay gap issues, publish a salary range for each job/grade.”

4. Keep an eye on salary levels across departments to ensure parity

Encourage discussion and comparison between departments to ensure that pay is comparable across functions. It is also useful for HR to facilitate meetings between different managers to openly discuss annual targets for pay scales. Doing so should result in the creation of more realistic, achievable goals.

 5. Encourage transparency in relation to remuneration packages

If the business has nothing to hide and is keen to address gender pay gap issues, publish a salary range for each job/grade. You could even go one step further and publish the criteria that determine pay rises and bonuses. This kind of transparency enables staff to see where they sit within pay grades, which is not only reassuring, but also highlights unfair anomalies and provides an opportunity to address the situation if there are any.

 6. Support flexible working

A flexible work culture generates more benefits for organisations than its name might suggest at first glance. Flexible working enables staff (most often women) to balance their work with caring for children or elderly parents, helping to reduce the stress of juggling both commitments and reducing the need for them to take career breaks. As a result, this approach not only helps the organisation to retain talented personnel, it also ensures that women can continue with their careers while undertaking caring responsibilities. There are also further benefits in both recruitment and productivity terms.

 Conclusion

In order to start truly tackling inequity between male and female workers, employers need to place more emphasis on valuing the unique qualities of both men and women. Rather than focusing on supporting one gender and blaming the other, it is more productive to understand how each thinks and communicates and concentrate on training to help people understand each other better.

Taking this kind of joined-up approach will be far more effective in the long-term than simply recruiting lots of new women to hit the latest quota.

 

 

Emma Clare is a marketing manager at Carval Computing, a provider of HR and payroll software aimed at both public and private sector organisations. In the past, she worked for a number of large and small to medium enterprises and has specialised in working with IT systems, HR and payroll for the last nine years. A key part of her current role is working with clients on identifying their HR system requirements before coming up with possible solutions

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