With only 2 ½ months to go before the first gender pay reporting deadline (and of course the 2018 snapshot date) I thought I’d take another look at the government website.
As has been widely commented, only a fraction of the expected data has been uploaded. At last count it was 593 from an expected 9,000.
Many of the submissions so far are from public sector bodies, local authorities, schools and trusts. Also, multinationals reporting for multiple legal entities. I’ve taken a look to see how the figures are being presented:
Here are 10 narratives that caught my eye:
- Environment Agency
- Herbert Smith Freehills
- Kingston Smith
- Lendlease Construction
- Ove Arup
- Premier Foods
These companies have taken a variety of approaches to the narrative but they were all:
- simple and straightforward both in layout and in language
- honest about the challenges, not patronising or defensive
- used graphs, pictures and even videos to explain the data and provide insights
- embraced the fact that changes were needed in internal systems and company culture, and demonstrated how they were going to achieve them
- went beyond the immediate requirements to provide additional analysis such as the gap for other protected characteristics (The Environment Agency) or like Weetabix provided year on year progress
- clearly set out the business benefits of an inclusive company
- provided data at group and subsidiary level to share a rounded view of the business
- like Kingston Smith, looked to societal changes and future generations and committed themselves to initiatives outside the company
It’s interesting that just over a third of submissions don’t have a voluntary narrative and the links of a further 8% either don’t work or land on the home page with no obvious signpost to the narrative. This seems like a real opportunity missed.
Just as in our previous blog, there were some companies who appear to have missed the point; focusing on equal pay or explaining away the figures as ‘just the way it is’ because it’s too hard to attract women. They are effectively closing the door on diversity.
If we think about how influential Glassdoor has been in recent years, the government website and your narrative will be another shop window for current and future employees. So it’s vital to get your message right.
The CIPD has developed some helpful fact sheets and a webcast to give you pointers for your narrative. Of course, if you’d like someone to help, do contact us.
One last observation: it seems that companies in traditionally male sectors are the ones who are embracing both the regulations and the spirit behind them. Of course, actions speak louder than words so the proof will be in the gender pay gap data in years to come.
Let’s hope things progress as anticipated.