Lovewell’s logic: Tackling the issues behind gender pay gaps

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck

How prepared is your organisation for the incoming gender pay gap reporting requirements?

Is this seen as a box-ticking exercise to be completed by the deadline or have you already engaged with the requirements and are planning to voluntarily publish your organisation’s data before required to do so in April next year?

This week, Schroders became the latest organisation to take the latter approach, reporting a mean gender pay gap of 31% and a 33% median gender pay gap, based on hourly fixed pay across its global workforce. It intends to publish its UK data in due course.

The global asset and wealth management firm follows organisations including Virgin Money, the Bank of England, and the Greater London Authority in voluntarily reporting its gender pay gap data ahead of schedule.

Employers’ decisions to publish their gender pay gap data early is particularly interesting in light of research by NGA Human Resources, which found that, of the approximately three-quarters of respondents who view gender pay gap reporting as a business issue, 40% cite bad publicity as a problematic external effect, while 34% cite brand damage. A further 26% of this group feel that it will cause challenges around staff retention, while a third cite recruitment challenges, and 20% believe it will open up the potential for pay rise demands.

Employers’ stated intentions around their plans to deal with identified gender pay gaps, therefore, will be interesting to see.

Like other organisations before it, Schroders attributed its gender pay gap to the under-representation of women within senior levels of the business, highlighting that gender pay gaps do not necessarily result from unequal pay across the organisation, but in some cases, will be due to a much broader issue around workforce diversity, particularly at senior levels.

Both Schroders and the Bank of England are looking to increase female representation among senior management as part of their strategies to help reduce the gender pay gap. This aligns with Lord Davies’ voluntary target of FTSE 350 boards comprising 33% women by 2020.

So, regardless of when they plan to report gender pay gap data, ensuring they are also able to share any plans about how they will work to reduce this will help organisations mitigate some of the negative perceptions around reported gaps.

Debbie Lovewell-Tuck
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