The first gender pay gap report was published in a blaze of publicity. This was progress, the headlines shouted. This was the way we would reset the pay scales and achieve better balance, we were told.
A year later the second round of results has just been published. There’s been a significant change in the level of attention. It’s quieter this time around. And sadly, the change we really need to see, in the numbers, has proven hard to come by.
The gender pay gap 2019
- The median gender pay gap has worsened at more than half of the UK's advertising and marketing agencies in the last year, says The Drum.
- The public sector has failed to narrow its gender pay gap this year, with women still paid an average of 86p for every pound paid to men.
- The technology sector has seen pay inequalities stay the same, or even get worse, analysis shows.
- The finance and construction sectors still have some of the largest gaps between men and women, with progress towards closing these remaining flat.
Analysts working for the World Economic Forum says it’ll take us 202 years to close the gap at the current rate.
How to close the gender pay gap
Analysts point out that real structural change isn’t about quick fixes. It will take time to move the goal posts. Offering high starting salaries to attract more female applicants may work in the short-term but this needs to feed through to promotion and fair pay throughout a woman’s, or anyone’s, career.
And as always, we need to reinforce that making the situation fairer and balanced needs to offer something for men as well as women. We need to offer more generous leave for fathers that they can afford to take, remove the stigma in taking that leave, and make every job flexible by default.
Actions to tackle the gender pay gap
The Government offers a range of concrete recommendations to push the agenda forward. Simple, clear actions that employers can use to level their pay structures.
- Increase the number of women on shortlists for recruitment and promotions. Move beyond token inclusion and always look for great candidates. However, shortlists with only one woman do not increase the chance of a woman being selected.
- Use skill-based assessment tasks in recruitment. Rather than relying only on interviews, ask candidates to perform tasks they would be expected to perform in the role they are applying for (though take care not to ask too much and exploit people’s time – do they need to be paid for this work?) Standardise the tasks and how they are scored to ensure fairness across candidates.
- Use structured interviews in hiring and human resources decisions. Experience shows unstructured interviews are more likely to allow unfair bias to creep in.
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