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Gender pay reporting is good for business

Lina Hilwani

Despite the slow uptake to submit their gender pay gap reports, Bureau Veritas, a leading compliance expert, is reminding companies that it constitutes a vital step forward for the economy and could, in fact, help boost business. Contributor Lina Hilwani, Sustainability Services Manager – Bureau Veritas.

Under government rules introduced last year, businesses and public organisations with 250 or more employees had until April 4 2018 to report their gender pay gaps, including mean and median gender pay differences. To date, over 10,000 firms have responded, with over three quarters of them paying men more than women.1

The move has since sphered fierce debate amid a flurry of shocking statistics. In the financial services sector, for example, it’s almost entirely men in this top earning bracket with a gender pay gap of 91 percent2. A separate study has estimated UK women are missing out on nearly £140bn a year in wages due to the gender pay gap – the equivalent of £9,112 each.3

Lina Hilwani, Sustainability Services Manager at Bureau Veritas, said: “Indeed, while a certain degree of preferential treatment towards men over women might have been expected, the data has revealed the sheer scale of the gender pay gap. While disturbing, however, reporting should be seen as a step in the right direction – providing us with the impetus needed to take progressive action to close it.

“The main benefit of gender pay gap reporting is increased transparency where gender discrimination exists. This thereby enables employees to pinpoint levels of inequality at work, female and male participation and how effectively talent is being utilised. In turn, this will help make informed decisions to ensure the right policies are in place for equal pay.”

Closing the gender pay gap has been revealed to make good business sense – it has been proven that having a more gender balanced workforce can help achieve a higher return on equity and better financial performance by strengthening an organisation’s intellectual capacity. In fact, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that GDP would grow 6 percent across all its member countries by 2030 if the gender gap in labour force participation were decreased by 50 percent.4

Lina adds: “Accordingly, the recommendation is for companies to lead the change and embrace gender gap reporting as a way to enhance the transparency of their business, while also boosting their potential – and it’s not just for applicable businesses to consider, but smaller businesses too. Of course, this does require investment in time and resource, however by enrolling an expert compliance partner such as Bureau Veritas, businesses can ensure they have a robust reporting procedure in place and receive the support they need.

“As we look ahead, our hope is that we can finally close the gender pay gap in order to ensure a fair, productive and exciting future for us all.”

Incentivise employee wellbeing: All modern businesses should be fostering a culture of health and wellbeing. Simple incentives can help to improve employees physical and mental health, as well as their passion and engagement for their role. Encouraging people to have regular breaks, offering gym discounts or exercise classes and offering free fruit are simple ways to help your employees feel happy, valued and healthy.

Encourage your employees to feel passionate about their job, valued in their role and engaged with your company. You’ll quickly reap the rewards of fully present employees.

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