Country Executive, 30% Club Ireland
The gender pay gap can only be addressed by more equal representation, and that opens a window of opportunity for more focused diversity and inclusion (D&I) action planning.
Almost six months since the publication of the Gender Pay Gap company reports, we see trends as we analyse data across industries; and the conversations move from ‘how’ we calculate to ‘what’ we do with the calculations reported. Patterns range from structural biases in bonuses and incentives to full-time vs. part-time opportunities. Ultimately, the gap is driven by unequal representation of women in higher-paid roles — or under-representation across all levels, in some cases.
Weighing reported measures beyond the gender pay gap
Our main focus has been the mean gap as the key measure. It’s a single figure easily comparable across organisations and industries. However, other measures are worth considering in understanding the full picture. For example, the percentage of employees receiving a bonus is a strong indicator of potential gender imbalance in highly incentivised industries and in higher-value profit and loss (P&L) roles.
The percentage of employees in each quartile also adds significantly to the analysis. In organisations reporting a high mean gender gap, this is typically evidenced in a downward shift in the percentage of women between the lower and upper quartiles — a strong confirmation of unequal representation in higher value roles, but possibly an expression of activity to recruit a more gender-balanced talent pipeline to help balance the former.
Conversely, a low consistent percentage of women across all four quartiles could be evidenced as a relatively low or almost zero gender pay gap but be indicative of the under-representation of women in the organisation.
Organisations need to focus on specific actions
that drive representation and access
to higher pay opportunities.
The action plan is more important than the gap
Driving change needs more than just aspirational thinking, and it won’t be resolved by a kitchen sink D&I approach. Instead, organisations need to focus on specific actions that drive representation and access to higher pay opportunities.
The strongest opportunity arises from access to data — organisations have the metrics to understand the highest incidences of gender under-representation and what is driving their gender-related patterns. Correct use of data drives robust key performance indicators and opens conversations to targets — both for equal representation in senior roles and higher representation across all levels.
Continuously improving opportunities
The plan is not about getting to zero. The plan is about continuously improving opportunities from where we stand today — for better human and business outcomes going forward.