6th April 2017
Today marks the day that UK companies with over 250 employees start to report publicly on the gender pay gap in their organisation.
This is an important area for all businesses and not just the larger ones who are compelled to report: those who must report and those who choose to report could be at the leading edge of far reaching changes in our workplaces and ultimately in our society. By focussing our attention in this area we cannot help but deepen our understanding of the issue - half the battle and a big step forward.
Using gender pay gap reporting could be viewed as a somewhat paradoxical approach to a rebalancing and reframing of what we value - in that we are using as a starting point our consensus measures of value: money (see Thought Piece on Gender and Valuing and Why Relational Working Matters). It could be argued that by doing this we are working well within the paradigm rather than seeking to change it. However we have to start somewhere and I believe the end will more than justify the means in this case, because the gender pay gap is a primarily a symptom rather than a cause.
I’m not pretending that overturning hundreds, nay thousands of years of imbalance will be easy. Yet today marks a change – a mark in the sand and a willingness to start to address it seriously.
Public reports cannot be ignored. They will face us with difficult facts about ourselves and our organisations, and the organisations that welcome that with open arms will be the ones that lead the way.
It is an emotive subject and one that people are sensitive to. The reports should pave the way for a greater stakeholder engagement on the subject if we choose, as I hope many will, to use the results to investigate the personal experiences and stories of employees and colleagues.
So today heralds another step on our journey towards greater balance in both our society and our workplaces.