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From Family Friendly Policies To Tackling Market Conditions

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Here Are EIGHT KEY THINGS Your Organisation Can Do To Tackle The Gender Pay Gap

In the US, 24th March 2021 is Equal Pay Day. But, why are women still paid less than men? Are they paid less in the same role, or are women paid less for other reasons like the impact of caring responsibilities, value placed on "female" skills and how senior they are?

Fifty-one years after the UK Equal Pay Act, a lot of people think a large reason for the difference in pay is linked to women taking time off to have children. We know that women are responsible for more of the unpaid work in society than their male counterparts - whether that's caring, household management or volunteering. That's combined with (and probably contributes to) a climate where lower economic value is placed on skills and jobs traditionally seen as female. All this also means that men are more likely to progress into higher paid leadership roles.

So, what can organisations do? We've identified 8 key things:

1. Make flexible working available. This could include job shares, condensed hours, non-standard work patterns, home-working.

2. Research childcare benefits. Could you partner with a workplace childcare scheme which supports affordable childcare? Do you know what childcare looks like for families in your area so you can signpost to help working parents?

3. Allow time off to deal with personal matters, even if it's unpaid. Yes, it needs to be managed, so controls are advised but there shouldn't be negative stigma around it.

4. Considering metrics and KPIs. Do you have a balanced scorecard? (Subtext: Do you measure effort and behaviours that might be seen as traditionally "female" but which contribute to results?)

5. Review whether you are offering 'equal pay for work of equal value'. Are people paid similar amounts across different departments, if they are similar in qualifications, years' experience, and levels of labour?

6. Be aware of market conditions. The job market can drive higher pay for traditionally "male" skills and roles. Be aware when this happens and try to moderate it where you can.

7. Carry out pay reviews. When doing pay reviews, analyse pay trends in your organisation. Conduct a levelling process to consider if individual talent and effort is being truly reflected in the amounts you award.

8. Train your managers to improve awareness and limit gender bias in their decision-making.

And guess what? None of these EIGHT things exclusively benefit women - they help create a fairer, more inclusive and engaging workplace for everyone.

We'd love to hear from you if you have other suggestions of top things organisations should be doing. Post in the comments or send us a message!

Black-and-white photo of four well-dressed women campaigners. One is carrying a placard with the text 'Women Demand Equal Pay'.
Women Demand Equal Pay c.1950

IMAGE: ‘Women Demand Equal Pay’. 5FWI/I/1/2/08/012, The Women’s Library collection, LSE Library, © Keystone Agency /ZUMA Press.

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