There has been good news for equality in the last year, as the gender pay gap has fallen to the lowest it has ever been. However, it has not disappeared entirely, not by a long stretch. According to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics, average female pay is almost 9% lower than average male pay. For those over 40 the gap is even wider at 12.8%. There are many different reasons for this inequality but while some may take years to correct, there are ways that employers can start taking steps towards closing the gender pay gap right now.
Hold your hands up to inequality
Research and recognise where gender pay inequality exists in your own business. Be up front about how much people are paid within the organisation and regularly check how this compares to market rates. Transparency over the way that salaries are decided and the factors that are involved is a positive step. This will not only attract candidates and motivate staff but shows a commitment to honest communication too.
Embrace flexible working
Most employers now have a duty to consider flexible working options but fully embracing this for employees can help a business take leaps and bounds towards pay equality. Flexible working can actually have a wide range of benefits for a business, as well as for employees, including improving motivation and productivity. It also helps to provide more options and to nurture ambition – according to an Ernst and Young survey 64% of women working flexible hours say they have a clearly laid out career path, as opposed to just 10% of those who are on fixed contracts.
Facilitate paternity leave
Shared parental leave became an entitlement in 2015 but the responsibility for care during the early years of childhood still rests largely with women. Employers looking to help correct this can incentivise more male employees to take paternity leave by facilitating it and offering more than a basic entitlement.
Evaluate the factors involved in promotions and raises
Does your business disproportionately award pay increases to male employees? Is the majority of your management male? These are some clear signs that there is an unconscious bias somewhere in the system of promotions and raises that favours male employees. Now is a good time to reevaluate how promotions and raises are decided to ensure that they are fair and that opportunities, when they arise, are open to all.
Offer subsidised childcare
Subsidised childcare helps to reduce financial pressure and also give employees more options when it comes to pursuing a career as well as having children. There are huge benefits for businesses that are willing to provide childcare, including lower turnover rates and better quality applicants.
These are just some of the ways in which your business can start to close its gender pay gap today – the financial benefits of doing so will be evident almost straight away.