Gender pay audit: how to communicate your results

Gender Mixed Team

 

From April 2017, all employers with 250 or more staff members must publish statutory calculations every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees. The report must publish six different calculations:

  • average gender pay gap as a mean average
  • average gender pay gap as a median average
  • average bonus gender pay gap as a mean average
  • average bonus gender pay gap as a median average
  • proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment
  • proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay

The legislation has been introduced to help close the gender pay gap in the UK and encourage more transparency. However, there are issues surrounding the report, including the potential for misleading results and the backlash many companies may face internally and externally.

Employers must ensure that they develop a strategy for communicating their results to minimise any negative impact they might attract. Here are some tips.

Familiarise yourself with what is required

The regulations do not require any more than basic numbers to be published, and nothing else. Get to know exactly what is needed including understanding how many of your employees would count as “relevant” employees under the regulations (the legislation advises that only people with direct contracts of employment need to be counted in the data).

Decide how you’re going to report the data once you receive the results

Employers need to plan how their data will fit in with their current reporting schedules. More importantly, employers will have to consider how to present the data, whether or not to explain and describe the results, and if there is anything additional they would like to include in the report.

They should also consider what the report might uncover and how they will explain the results both internally and externally. It’s worth considering how your employees, stakeholders and customers might react to your results and plan accordingly.

Pre-plan a response

Once you are aware of the data, create a pre-planned response to any questions you envisage that you may face. If your results show a small gap, or none at all, you can explain how you have always championed equality. If the results show a large gap and you expect a backlash, you should:

  • Explain the situation to your employees. If you keep them in the dark they will find out through other sources making them feel less valued.
  • Appoint one member of staff who will deal with queries from outside sources and ensure that they are media trained.
  • Draft a response that details how you understand the dismay behind the results, and explain how you are implementing a change in business processes to ensure that your organisation is progressive in regards to gender equality.

Work on potential business improvement

There is no doubt that the reports will be put under the spotlight when they are first released. Instead of resisting this legislation, efficient organisations will see it as an opportunity for improvement.

Numerous reports have shown that gender diversity throughout an organisation improves performance and the most talented individuals will be more attracted to progressive and diverse workplaces.

If, as an employer, you find your gender pay gap data is negative, ensure you communicate why that is, how you are reviewing the position and how you’re planning for the future.

*This article was contributed by berg.  berg is a Manchester-based law firm which is helping organisations navigate Gender Pay Gap reporting. berg’s HR specialist and Employment Partner, Michelle Gray, is hosting a free online Gender Pay Gap reporting webinar on Tuesday 7th March which will cover:

  • What the regulations will be and how they will impact your business
  • How to prepare for the regulations
  • How to interpret and apply the regulations
  • What happens if you fail to comply
  • How to protect against claims and manage risks

You can register here.





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