Should small businesses think about Gender Pay gaps?

Gender Pay gaps is a hot topic at the moment and is causing controversy amongst several industries!  I’m sure you are aware that the deadline is looming for businesses with over 250 employees to report on the percentage pay gap between their male and female employees, but even if this doesn’t include your business, it is a worthy consideration for a business of any size.

I’ve been watching the news stories come out gradually of the pay gaps.  Some trends are very interesting.  The aviation industry consistently pays men more than women…. And this seems to be reasoned away quite tidily – mostly, men are pilots and women are air hostesses, and isn’t it fair that pilots are paid more than the air hostesses?

Banking and the financial sector also seem to have a larger pay gap.  And that can be reasoned away because men are better at being senior executives and selling financial products, and women do the less important work…. Oh, hang on a minute, that doesn’t seem right does it?

Sorry, I’m being negative, generalising and being a bit sarcastic!

There are many reasons that women are, in general, paid less than men.  For example, more women work in traditional “caring roles” which are lower paid, and it is generally women who take career breaks to bring up a family, and then return to work on a part-time basis.  There’s also the glass ceiling, the lack of promotion of women of “child bearing age”. Or, as in my case, it feels uncomfortable asking for a pay rise.

Psychologists suggest that the gender divide begins in childhood through the way that children play – the way that little girls like dollies and toy kitchens and little boys get a Meccano set – and could encourage their direction towards a future career to grow up to want to be pre-school assistants and engineers for example (the latter of which are paid considerably more).  Did you know that even roman female slaves were worth less than men?  This is nothing new.

Anyway, rant aside.  As it is just large employers that need to report, I wonder what the pay gap is in smaller businesses?   Maybe it is worth having a look to make sure that you are being a fair employer (not to mention legal).  It has been the law since the 1970s to ensure that women are paid the same rate as men for work that is the same, like or of equivalent value.

So, think about how you set salaries in your business.  Larger businesses carry out pay grading, assessing the job for its merits and contribution to the business overall – that way you can compare whether the work is of equivalent value. The Hay group have a great framework to help evaluate jobs and you can find out more here.

I’m grateful my male business partner recognises and supports me as an individual and doesn’t expect me to make the tea because I wear dresses!

So think about gender pay equality, not only for the sake of our daughters, but also for the sake of your business.  Ensure that the roles in your business are being paid based on skill level regardless of who is doing the job. Women can offer lots of skills to the workplace and deserve to be paid fairly, even if not many of them can lift heavy items.

The Organised Business supports all business owners to grow their business.

I’d love to hear any comments on your experiences on this.

By | 2018-04-04T14:53:19+00:00 April 4th, 2018|The Organised Business|0 Comments

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