In April 2018 all UK companies who employed 250 or more employees had to publish statistics revealing their gender pay gap. This movement saw a flurry of headlines highlighting companies with large pay gaps and what they should do to narrow them. Initially, more than ¾ of businesses were paying their male members of staff more than female employees. Some of the worst perpetrators had a gender pay gap of over 80%. Some of the biggest companies in the UK showed that their gap was over 3 times higher than the national average. At the time this was 18.4% for full-time workers and part-time workers combined.
Easyjet reported paying women 51.7% less and HSBC declared a pay gap of 59%!
Despite these worrying statistics, in some (although a minority) cases the gender pay gap was either minute or non-existent. In a number of businesses women were actually paid more than men. Companies such as Unilever UK, women earn almost 10% more than men. As well as this, more than half of management positions are filled by women. The British Museum pays their staff completely equally.
After the BBC pay gap shock, it’s refreshing to find that Channel 5 the gender pay gap is 2.85% in favour of women. Let’s get deeper into how Channel 5 are closer to achieving equal pay than any other broadcaster in the UK. The gender pay gap is different to equal pay and is often look at as how many women are in high level positions and how often they are outnumbered by male colleagues in higher positions. Channel 5 is owned by a company with just a 2% pay gap and there’s a better balance of male and female workers within the senior roles at the broadcaster.
Viacom, the company that owns Channel 5 has a relatively equal senior management team with 9 men and 7 women. Down the hierarchy, the top and middle roles come in at 46% women. Where there is still a slight imbalance, it’s a big difference to a lot of large companies that are dominated by men in all roles.
“Our performance compares well with the national average, but we still areas of marked imbalance, particularly on bonuses. We are evolving our employment practices with a view to eradicating our gender pay gap over time”
James Currell, President For UK Operations at Viacom
Steps To Take For a Positive Gender Pay Gap
After looking into what companies like Viacom are doing to achieve these positive pay gaps we’re going to give you some top tips. Whether you’re a large organisation of a SME, it’s always a positive step to be aware of your gender pay gap and how to improve it to create a workplace that champions equality across the board.
Companies that are achieving a good pay gap percentage have candidate pools that are balanced well in terms of gender. This happens for every role, from Managing Directors to Admin Assistants. As well as this they focus on a transparent recruitment processes internally, creating interview panels that are an equal mix of male and female interviewers and delivering all training equally. It’s also apparent that those members of staff who are carrying out interviews for companies who are ranking well in terms of the gender pay gap receive training on achieving an unconscious bias.
As we previously mentioned, The British Museum achieved a gender pay gap of an incredible 0%. Completely equal for both men and women. They say that this is partly down to their lack of discrimination in all aspects of employment, from recruitment to promotions and pay.
There’s a lot of discourse around women leaving work to have children and never making up the lost ground. It’s important that all businesses don’t stunt progression for those employees who take time out of work to have children. They should be able to come back to work and have access the same opportunities as their co-workers. Interventions like shared parental leave are a step towards eradicating this as well as things like flexible working. However, these interventions will only make a difference if people choose to make use of them. The number of men taking shared parental leave is still relatively low and it’s mainly women who engage in flexible working. It is possibly down to financial reasons, where by law men are only entitled to share up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. However, progressive companies are taking a stand and paying men the same parental leave as women.
“As little as 2% of eligible families take shared parental leave”
The discussion surrounding the gender pay gap emphasises the issues around promotion equality in terms of gender. Whether it be a small jump up the hierarchy or a big promotion into a senior role, they’re usually in favour of male employees. With the publication of gender pay gaps, companies should be forward thinking and ensuring that the same opportunities are available to all employees.
You must be aware of where pay gaps are occurring to be able to combat them. Analyse pay and bonuses by gender so you can identify and address gaps. In terms of employees, be clear about which factors of their performance drive pay rises and bonuses.
We hope you’ve found this useful in your efforts to create fair pay and roles in your company. Whether you’re big or small it’s a great practice to begin in your business.
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