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I’m sure you’ve all heard about gender pay gap reporting (GPGR) and the requirement for businesses with more than 250 people to report on their performance. We addressed the issue in one of our internal groups, called ‘Sisters at Brother’, where one of the topics that came up for discussion was the difference between equal pay and the gender pay gap.

Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK.
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK.

Equal pay deals with pay differentials between men and women who carry out the same job, a similar job or work of equal value and is covered by legislation that makes it unlawful to pay people differently according to their gender. The gender pay gap is a different issue. It shows the difference in average pay between all men and women in a workforce based upon a series of six prescribed calculations (see the acas website for more information).

If a business has a particularly high gender pay gap, it could be indicative of certain problems that the individual calculations can help identify.

The average gender pay gap in the technology/OP industry is estimated at 13-25%, depending on who you ask and which areas you look at. There are many potential reasons for this disparity, including the number of females in senior roles and whether they are paid bonuses, as well as sectoral biases towards males in areas such as software coding, sales or the supply chain.

The root causes are not easily resolved and will often require systemic change over many years to put right. GPGR is intended to highlight problems to enable positive progress to be made.

So, what can you do about it?

Even if you are a small business and don’t have to report, it is good practice to check your own gender pay gaps and perhaps even to get someone to do it for you.

Double check that pay is equal across your business; it may have slipped inadvertently.

Encourage females into work that has high male representation as a proportion of the overall workforce, such as sales, coding or data science. Be aware of the gender bias towards males and create systems to counteract it.

Consider flexible working arrangements to enable family commitments to be managed more easily.

Provide equal opportunities for everyone to get on in your business regardless of gender. Pay particular attention to anyone who may have had a career break and consider ways to accelerate skills for the individual.

When recruiting, make sure there are opportunities for females to apply for senior and management roles and that your candidate list is well balanced.

It makes total sense for your business to take positive steps towards creating a gender-neutral environment. You’ll recruit better people, contribute to industry sustainability and, ultimately, benefit from having a balance of people making good decisions for your business’s future.

See you out there.

Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
Twitter: @philjones40

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