There are numerous benefits for both employers and employees
As the renowned journalist Maria Shriver said, “When we pay women less than men, we’re telling women their work isn’t as valuable. We’re all equally valuable. And we should be paid equally.”
Gender pay equality doesn’t only benefit women, it benefits everyone.
Paying people fairly sends positive signals to your whole company. It helps ensure that everyone is respected equally. It helps collaboration and makes for a happier workforce generally. There’s nothing like the simmering resentment caused by unfair pay to create a bad atmosphere and harm productivity.
Not paying women fairly will certainly have a negative effect on hiring and retaining the best talent. The actual percentage of women to men employed in countries in the developed world tends to be around 46%.1 This means that employers who pay women less than men are restricting their talent pool and losing valuable employees.
Failure to pay women fairly sends a message to almost half of an organisation’s employees that they are not valued as highly as the other half. And, of course, men in these companies may feel that they don’t need to work as hard as their female counterparts.
The size of the task
The World Economic Forum estimates that at the current rate of change it may take more than 202 years before the gender wage gap is closed completely.2
Positive action is being taken, however. Thirteen countries worldwide now require employers to submit data about gender pay, and reports are either required or are likely to be published externally in six of those countries (Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway and the UK).
It’s not only governments that are increasing visibility of gender pay unfairness. Websites such as Glassdoor are shining a light on bad employment practices to let us see where people enjoy working. Years ago, it wasn’t so simple to find out if a potential employer was the right fit. We’d have to find someone who worked for a company or rely on hearsay. Today, we can simply turn on our mobile to find the answer. Any company with unfair pay structures is highly unlikely to become an employer of choice.
Talent management solutions for workforce visibility
Knowing that failure to address the issue can lead to costly discrimination complaints and reputational damage, you’d think that companies would be keen to not only be fair, but to be seen to be fair.
Obviously, keeping track of gender pay is relatively easy for a small company, where people are together in the same location, doing similar jobs. But what about multinationals? How can you keep track of workers in different countries in a growing company?
All kinds of claims have been made for data in recent years. A quick online search of ‘data is …’ brings up ‘data is king’, ‘data is the new oil’ and ‘data is the new currency’. There’s no doubting that data can be extremely powerful. But, like any tool, it needs to be used properly.
How difficult is it to keep track of gender pay equality?
Organisations today have a wide choice of human resources software, which include talent solutions, often with powerful data analytics and reporting tools. Human capital management (HCM) systems that unify your payroll and HR, and include the latest talent management solutions, will make it easy to produce and share accurate reports on salaries (including information on gender, promotions, age, ethnicity and disability). Information is updated every time there’s a payroll run and available to whoever needs to see it – in real time.
Assuming they’re doing the same work, there’s no excuse for not paying men and women the same salaries. And there are plenty of benefits for employers and employees alike. If you’re to pay people fairly, the first step is to view and analyse your employee data. Today’s unified talent solutions offer analytics and reporting capabilities that make this simple.