Mind the gap… Can HR fix the gender pay gap?

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This week’s HR Hour was all about the gender pay gap and how can HR effectively “fix” it?

It’s no secret that women are paid less than men, even when roles are consistent and irrespective of  pay or skill level, the gap remains obvious.  It’s important to highlight that Gender Pay Gap reporting is not just about equal pay as suggested; it presents a complex and challenging problem in which organisation figureheads shrug their shoulders and say “well how do we get around this then?”. In some cases has only emphasised the historical hurdles women have had to overcome in order to be seen equally.

Whilst Gender Pay Gap reporting is designed to highlight the difference in pay; is there anything actually being done to close the gap?

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Are we at risk of the discriminated becoming the discriminators?

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It has been a while since I have blogged as it has been an incredibly busy few weeks with employment law updates and various CIPD branch events so I do apologise for the lateness of my post, hopefully it is worth waiting for!

Whilst I have been attending these various events, there has been one trend at each one; money! Changes to the National Living Wage, Apprenticeship Levy, Zero hour contracts and the long awaited outcome of Lock v British Gas all aim to make an impact on employers over the coming months but there has been one topic that has drawn the crowds and has opinions divided; the gender pay gap.

 In the aftermath of International Women’s Day 2016, some say it is a big step for equality (wait for it…), others say it could damage reputations of businesses within industries where the majority employed are men, for example in my industry of manufacturing. Whatever your opinion, these changes are taking effect but businesses will not be required to publicly produce this information until 2018, that is if they choose to do it at all; whilst many may like to see this information, it will not be a legal requirement. Furthermore, given the legal enforcement of the data protection act, there will not be the sufficient evidence available to the public view in order to back up the statistics that employers produce.

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The guidelines state that employers will be required to produce an annual report detailing the levels of pay for it’s male and female employers, they will then need to identify the mean and median numbers in hourly pay and any bonuses. They will also have to disclose the proportion of men to women who receive bonus payments. Whilst this is the main bulk of the report, there are many other elements that need to be included and considered such as sick pay, maternity pay and allowances.

With all of these changes happening, is it too much too soon, too little too late or is it that we are now at risk of highlighting the gaps so much that the discriminated are becoming the discriminators?

So, is this all a load of hot air or just an attempt to appease women with a tick box exercise, or do you think this is beneficial? I’d love to hear your thoughts so do leave me a comment or feel free to ask me any questions, thank you for reading!