How gender pay gap reporting could change
The key points from the CMI Gender Pay Debate
Gender pay gap reporting could be extended to all businesses with more than 150 employees in the future. The theory was proposed by Helene Reardon-Bond OBE, strategic adviser on diversity & inclusion at the Financial Reporting Council, at a Gender Pay Gap Debate hosted by CMI on 9 April 2018.
Reardon-Bond said the existing policy had been carefully crafted with the support of businesses, including CMI chief executive Ann Francke, who she described as one of the “biggest advocates” of the regulations. Currently, UK companies with more than 250 employees were required to report the differences in salaries of male and female employees by 4 April 2018. The move was seen as a broad success at highlighting the importance of diversity in organisations, and it’s thought more companies could soon be asked to comply with the move.
GENDER PAY GAP RESULTS
At the event, CMI’s director of strategy and external affairs Petra Wilton reminded the audience that 10,016 companies had reported their figures and that the average pay gap between male and female managers is 26%. It follows the CMI full reaction to gender pay gap figures, reported previously. Wilton explained that the gender pay gap is greatest in organisations where women are underrepresented, especially in senior roles.
THE GENDER PAY GAP IS DIFFERENT FROM EQUAL PAY
Bruce Carnegie-Brown CCMI, who is both CMI president and chairman of insurance market Lloyd’s of London, emphasised that “the gender pay gap should not be confused with equal pay.” Lloyd’s of London had reported a 27.7% mean gender pay gap, but Carnegie-Brown said he felt women and men were being paid comparable salaries throughout the organisation, but the number of men in senior roles skewed the data. He called on businesses to look at “developing and retaining women at a senior level”.
WHY THE GENDER PAY GAP EXISTS
Panellists including Brenda Trenowden CCMI, Global Chair, 30% Club agreed that company culture needed to change in order for women to feel comfortable progressing at work. Trenowden said: “You can throw enough diversity [of talent] at an organisation, but if the culture is not inclusive enough, it doesn’t stick.”
Heather Melville OBE CCMI, who is chair of CMI Women, highlighted the CMI’s focus on skilled, professional leadership to help foster a supportive culture. She said: “CMI recognises the concept of the ‘accidental manager’. If you reward those who are technically skilled but don’t care about management, it doesn’t help employees progress.”
However, in sectors such as engineering there are a low number of female entrants to start with, explained Sir Terry Morgan CBE CMgr CCMI, the chairmain of Crossrail Ltd. “In engineering only five per cent of the intake is female,” he said. “Engineering doesn’t fit with the ambitions parents have for their daughters.” As a result, Crossrail has openly set itself “big goals” and aimed to attract more female talent. Last year 25% of its new recruits were female.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Peter Ayliffe CMgr CCMI, chairman of Coventry Building Society, said the company looked at boosting diversity from the outset. It uses software to ensure there was no gender bias in the words used in its job descriptions. He also encouraged women to speak highly of their own achievements and recalled that talented female managers in his organisation often talked their own successes down.
Fundamentally, “we must all be advocates for women at work,” said Reardon-Bond. “It’s time to engage the sceptics.”