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Aside from GDPR, the big topic right now is the gender pay gap. Now the deadline for companies to submit data has passed, what have we learnt? And more importantly, what does it mean for recruiters?
Legislation around equal pay – the right for men and women to claim equal pay where they perform equal work – has been in place since the 1970s. But the gender pay gap is different. This is the difference in average earnings of men and women, regardless of their role or seniority, and to help address the issue the Government made all large organisations (with 250+ employees) publish the relevant data.
By the 5th April deadline over 10,000 organisations had responded, and 78% were shown to be paying men more than women based on the hourly median measure, while 14% pay women more and 8% had no gender pay gap at all.
Who’s included in the figures?
One question that was immediately highlighted by recruiters was whether or not agency workers and contractors should be included in the pay gap calculations. The 2017 Regulations governing the information submitted don’t define ‘employee’, so the definition under the Equality Act applies.
Essentially, this states that anyone having a contract with the employer – either a contract of employment or a contract personally to do work – should be included.
How else will recruiters be affected?
Transparency over gender pay gaps is a real step forward, and as this will be an annual requirement everyone will be able to see how imbalance in workforces change – one area where recruiters could play an invaluable role.
According to Tom Hadley of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation “[Recruiters] have a key role to play to help clients increase diversity and inclusion, address historic and systemic barriers to progression and opportunity for all and secure more women in senior roles. Something as simple as tweaking the language in a job advert, promoting flexible hours or thinking about where you advertise could have a big impact.”
Here are four simple ways recruiters can help their clients start to make the necessary changes.
Offering flexible hours, remote working and job sharing will allow women to take on more senior roles while balancing childcare commitments they may have.
Preconceptions about industries such as engineering or science can lead to fewer women applying – but unbiased training for those in the selection process together with pre-defined shortlist splits could help boost the numbers.
Identifying who steps into senior roles when someone leaves or retires can help to highlight suitable positions for women with potential and put a career path in place to reach them.
The assumption of certain industries being ‘male’ is often reinforced by stereotypes as early as school; but employers can reduce such bias by promoting their gender diversity.
With so much current interest in the gender pay gap, it’ll no doubt be fascinating to see how effectively organisations are able to address the imbalances between now and next year. Although it’s clear recruiters will be able to play a big part in helping them.