Friday 10th November 2017 is Equal Pay Day. This is the day that working women all over the UK will start working for free until the end of the year due to the pay gap between what the average man and woman earns.
Currently the pay gap between men and women in the UK is 18.4% and for full time workers it is at 9.1%. It will take us 62 years at the current rate for women to get equal pay.
The Pay Gap between white men & black african british women is the largest gender pay gap at 19.6%. Even worse.
We simply cannot wait this long.
Despite so many efforts across the world to close this gap we are still at the same place.
From April 2018, businesses with more than 250 employees legally have to report their gender pay gap to the government, but will this really mean anything if they are not legally required to change any disparities that are revealed?
How do you feel about having to come into work, on time, busting your guts out whilst your male colleagues get paid for the same efforts and you don’t? This is outrageous and a serious change needs to happen.
Three things that you can do now to address this:
-If you work for an employer who has more than 250 employees ask them now what they are planning to do once they publish their gender pay gap data. Enquire, if they have any strategies for addressing disparities and find out if you could feed in any information or ideas or even better have they thought of a way to consult staff about actions going forward?
-Look at yourself: How confident are you in negotiating pay and working terms at your workplace? Are you ready for your annual review whether this is in December 2017 or April 2018, do you feel confident to ask for a pay rise or promotion? Would you like to work more flexibly? Get prepared now by reviewing your achievements and contributions at your workplace and list them down in a word document. Pay particular attention to any achievements that have contributed to new sales or savings impacting the bottom line. You can also note down volunteering activities you have participated in as well and any extra qualifications. A great read to prepare you for negotiation is We have a deal by Natalie Reynolds or watch her interview here:
-Is there anything you can do to improve your career prospects and salary? Are you in a position to get a postgraduate diploma or degree? Does your workplace have a budget for this to support staff; this is the time to have this conversation with your manager. When asking your manager about extra qualifications you need to have a strong business case, not just how this extra qualification will help you but how will it help your business? Can you take on more responsibilities or lead on a project? Can you start to line manage a colleague? Explore these areas because all of these developments can help your case when either negotiating a pay rise, promotion or when looking for a new job.
When the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, discovered that female employees were paid 80% of what their male colleagues were making he spent $3 million to address this and fix their salaries in 2015. He spent another $3 million again this year to address new pay disparities that came up and he is continuing to monitor future pay gaps. This shows how simple addressing the pay gap really is, however, costly, but businesses need to invest in fixing this issue as Salesforce have done and take it seriously. Spending money to fix the figures however is not a great long-term solution.
Four things businesses can do to address their gender pay gap for the long term:
-Dive deeper into the data and find out if the male colleagues who are earning more than their female counterparts at the same job level/title have extra qualifications, responsibilities, experience or education. The more insight and further analysis you can get with this data the more effective changes you can make to address the gender pay gaps at your workplace.
-When female and male colleagues join your firm how do you communicate openness for women especially to start negotiations from the very beginning? It is important that female employees feel comfortable in negotiating from the moment they receive their job offer and it is your responsibility as a business to communicate this and to be open. This openness can ensure that from entry into your firm women are given the same open level playing field as their male colleagues.
-Analyse your annual review process and find out if it gives opportunities for women especially to be assessed properly/fairly and what indicators and areas of development you review. Do you incorporate 360 reviews, do you get feedback from clients and colleagues, and do you acknowledge voluntary activities? Find out if there are any changes you can make to ensure that female colleagues are able to be assessed fairly and to have opportunities to clearly demonstrate all of their achievements
-If fixing the gender pay gap cannot be immediate are there any other conditions and terms that you can implement to give female colleagues in particular better working terms such as agile and flexible working, opportunities for gaining qualifications such as postgraduate diplomas and degrees, sabbaticals, long-term leave, unlimited holidays etc.
Either way whether you are a business or a female employee do not wait until April 2018 when businesses have to report the gender pay gap to address this- start today to seriously address these issues.