Over the last year or so you may have read some shocking headlines about the gap in equal pay for men and women sitting at over 20% (in favour of men). You may have tutted, whinged, discussed it with friends and perhaps looked around the office, trying to work out if Steven really is earning more than Fiona.
But it turns out that we weren’t really looking at the figures properly. It turns out that the pay gap isn’t actually about the money, infact it turns out that the pay gap is really about under-representation of women in senior roles and industries. A recent white paper from the Korn Ferry Hay Group identifies that the mooted pay gap discrepancy (a disturbing 28% in the UK) is the difference between the average male employee salary and the average female employee salary. It doesn’t take into account job level, company or job function. Actually once we do take these factors into account, the difference between male and female pay is a negligible 0.8% in the UK. Not quite so newsworthy.
So maybe Steven is earning the same as Fiona – for now. But the trends highlighted in KFHG’s report show that Steven is more likely to progress to a more senior level, and also more likely to work in a higher paid functions and industries than Fiona, and this is the real issue. It’s predictable to assume that this state of affairs is down to pregnancy and related career breaks – and this certainly is a factor, but by no means the only one. Unconscious bias, not only in recruitment and succession planning but throughout company culture (and throughout some industries) plays a huge part, as do women’s own intrinsic motivations and culturally imposed norms.
From next year, companies with over 250 employees will be required to report on their pay gaps. How ready is your business for this? What trends are already surfacing in your data, and what can you do about them? Forward thinking businesses are reviewing Inclusion & Diversity strategy, evaluating Professional Development processes, and analysing how these could better support a cultural shift to narrow the gender pay gap and improve results. Talk to ted about how our 5 step approach can support your business to drive positive change.