The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has published new gender pay gap advice in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on measures organisations should be taking to address pay inequality.
The Institute stressed that women were hit worst by the pandemic, citing research showing they were more likely to work in sectors shut down by Covid-19 (Coronavirus), to have been furloughed, or to have borne the brunt of childcare.
The requirement for companies with more than 250 staff to report their gender pay gap was postponed in 2020 in the early days of the pandemic, and so far only 5,000 out of an eligible 12,500 have reported figures before the new deadline of 4 October 2021.
The new guidance includes a number of suggestions for organisations to address inequalities in pay and other areas, including anonymising CVs and application forms, mentoring schemes for women to build skills, providing clear briefs to recruitment suppliers and executive search firms on diversity targets, advertising jobs at all levels as flexible from day one, and promoting shared parental leave to all staff and enhancing statutory paternity leave if possible.
Employers are being encouraged to consider their future talent pipeline as students at schools, colleges and universities increasingly ask questions about gender pay equality in their chosen fields. It also reminds employers that diversity metrics are becoming increasingly important in winning supplier bids.
Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI, commented that the delay by companies to report their gender pay gap was “understandable”, but that action was now needed, as she believes there has never been “a more urgent time” for awareness of the gender pay gap to be put back front and centre of policy making.
She explained that the widespread move to more flexible working could provide more opportunities for women, but there are also real risks of women being left out of decision making and a reduction in the support that helps them progress their career.
“Now that the economic ship is being steadied, it would be a stain on our national conscience to allow a two-tier workforce to emerge in the UK. As we emerge from the pandemic, managers and leaders are faced with a once in a generation opportunity to build back better and more inclusively, but progress on the gender pay gap is at real risk of being taken for granted,” Francke said.