Last week saw the first deadline for companies employing 250 or more people to report their gender pay gap. More than 8,000 private sector firms published their data, with nearly 4 in 5 reporting that male staff were, on average, paid more than female staff. It should be noted that this is not the same as unequal pay, which is already illegal.
The CBI is advising that employers that have not yet reported their 2017 data must do so immediately. The Equalities & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has estimated that 1,500 companies missed the deadline. The EHRC will provide guidance to those requiring assistance, but will take enforcement action against those that disregard their legal obligations.
The process of data collection and analysis for 2018’s gender pay gap reports is now underway. However, as CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn has said, the litmus test of success is what firms do to create more inclusive workplaces and close their gender pay gaps.
The business case for taking action is proven. Given the current pressures businesses are facing in accessing people and skills, widening the pool from which to recruit and develop staff has never been more important. While some firms are taking the lead, the overall pace of progress towards diversity and inclusion remains too slow.
There are some steps that companies of all sizes can take to make further progress on diversity and inclusion:
– Hold leaders to account for plans to build an inclusive workplace and encourage them to speak about its importance as a business issue.
– Voluntarily set tailored and stretching targets to improve diversity, and measure progress.
– Where possible, offer flexible working from job adverts onwards and challenge non-diverse shortlists, including those provided by recruiters.
Further examples of good practice will be discussed at the CBI’s Inclusive Workplaces Conference in London (1st May) and Newcastle (26th September).
The CBI has voluntarily published its own gender pay gap data.