Sue Robinson, the TMT People Advisory Services Lead at EY, discusses the upcoming gender pay gap reporting deadline and why men and women need to work together to foster greater diversity in the workplace.
With the deadline for publishing gender pay gap data looming, it’s no surprise that some of the early figures revealed are grabbing the headlines.
Many tech companies have rushed to release their data well ahead of the 4 April 2018 cut-off point, perhaps because they have a relatively good story to tell, but that doesn’t mean that others have anything to hide. Some have found the regulations (administratively) demanding and unsurprisingly want to make sure that their figures are robust and accurate.
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To create the technologies of the future, the sector needs to recruit the best and right mix of talent, with gender balanced teams, which is a challenge in an industry that reports a shortage on the skills they need to grow.
With that in mind, although the regulation currently applies only to companies with over 250 employees, we’re also seeing startups and other smaller tech companies sitting up and taking notice.
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Regardless of whether you are a large or small business, recruiting and retaining talent with a balanced skill-set is a commercial imperative. Indeed, pay gap calculations can be used as an opportunity to evaluate and address the number of women in senior leadership positions.
So, what should companies be doing differently to help close the pay gap and improve diversity within their organisations?
Clearly, this is a hugely complex area and we certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. However, here are just some of the insights that regularly come up in my conversations with clients:
- Make sure the working atmosphere is right: is it one everyone can feel comfortable working in, or just your current cohort? How are you striving to create an inclusive workplace culture?
- Get your policies in place: for example, by offering flexible working and adapting working patterns, which is appealing to most employees, especially parents. In a global economy, a traditional 9 to 5 day isn’t always possible or practical.
- Watch out for unconscious bias: is your training programme, particularly in tech areas such as coding, tilted towards men? Or is the way you recruit subtly reinforcing your current gender bias rather than correcting it?
The aim here, of course, is not to create winners and losers in a battle of the sexes. The goal is men and women successfully working together to build the products and services of the future.
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But as a starting point, we need to have greater transparency over pay levels and have more women in senior roles and the C Suite.
At EY, we’re committed to helping diverse talent thrive, whether it’s through our support for working parents, our innovative approach to student recruitment, or targeted action to help level the playing field for women and ethnic minorities. We have invested in over twenty initiatives in the last five years which are designed to develop and nurture a diverse and inclusive workforce, with further actions planned. To achieve this, we aim to continually go beyond what is required, for example, by reporting on pay gap by both ethnicity and gender.
Find out more here. Watch Sue’s interview with UKTN by clicking on the video below.