One of the biggest and most beneficial impacts on a business can be to look at women in the workplace. Women make up approximately 50% of the workforce so what could we do to support them better?
Improving Gender Pay equality
Women face intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination in the workplace. What can we do to create safe and inclusive spaces where women can thrive and advance their careers towards leadership positions?
The gender pay gap measures the difference in median hourly pay between men and women. it is often lowest in companies that employ fewer women. In Plymouth, the significant gender pay inequality is in weekly pay of residents.
As 77% of organisations reporting in 2018 have a gender pay gap in favour of men.
Among full time employees the gender pay gap in April 2021 was 7.9%, continuing the downward trend. (ONS 2021)
(Plymouth City Council, 2022)
Why is this important?
(NOMIS January 2022)
The difference in median hourly pay between genders indicates discrimination and bias within organisations. Difference in weekly income indicates differences in men’s and women’s capacity to work enough hours on a high enough wage to meet their basic living expenses.
This limits the capacity for women, who are often carers for families and relatives, to improve their careers and their social situation. The continuing gender imbalance in senior leadership roles and in boards can mean that the status quo is perpetuated.
How will this benefit the employees?
Improving pay and opportunities for men and women to share work and caring responsibilities, benefits both individuals and families. This will help women to reach their full potential and to improve overall pay for families in Plymouth.
How will this benefit employers?
Girls do equally well if not better in education so a larger, happier talent pool is possible and could improve business productivity and growth.
Improvement in gender balanced views across the organisation can improve engagement and understanding of customers, suppliers, and staff.
If combined with a review of family-friendly policies and other policies e.g., flexible working, health and wellbeing, menopause awareness etc.
staff retention and ‘churn’ will be based on development and progression rather than workplace challenges and obstacles.
"This will help women to reach their full potential and to improve overall pay for families in Plymouth."
Where to start
Conduct a review of your teams to include gender, roles and responsibilities and pay. (NB this could form part of a full equality and diversity review)
Set up the offer to talk to everyone about their views on gender balance in the workplace. This could form part of a structured personnel review, or you may wish to work with someone outside your organisation to complete this?
Include multiple women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions
Use structured interviews for recruitment and promotions, reducing unconscious bias.
Encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges
Introduce transparency to promotion, pay and reward processes
Offer support or links to childcare
Appoint diversity champions, they can be empowered to develop and implement diversity strategies and policies
Ask for more information on why decisions were made.
How to achieve changes
Flexibility in the workplace for everyone, at all levels, means that women are more able to progress, and more able to earn higher salaries.
Attraction: more flexible working may allow you to attract a wider pool of talent into jobs where women are under-represented.
Retention: flexible working may enable you to retain women who are not available to work a full-time or standard working week, or to retain those who are suffering from excessive work-life conflict.
Progression: offering more flexible work in senior positions is particularly important to ensure that employees who work part-time in your organisation can progress.
Well-being: well-designed flexible working can help boost employee well-being by reducing the work life conflict they often face.
Challenging gender norms: opening all positions to flexible work, and to part-time work, ensures they are open to people with caring responsibilities. It also has the potential to challenge the stereotype that caring responsibilities are women’s work by signalling that positions that are currently held by men also offer flexibility.
The gender pay gap widens dramatically after women have children, but this could be reduced if men and women were able to share childcare more equally.