How will pay gap reporting affect your reputation?

Atlas Director, Vanessa Pine spoke at the Fawcett Society Conference on the Gender Pay Gap in October 2017, alongside the Minister for Equalities Anne Milton, Confederation of British IndustryChartered Management InstituteChartered Institute of Public Relations and Royal College of Nursing.

Research from two years ago indicated that two-thirds of women believed there was a gender pay gap in their organisation. It turns out that was an underestimate. Figures released on the Government Pay Portal in April 2018 showed that actually 78% of firms have a gender pay gap, meaning on average women are paid less than men.

Since regulations were laid before Parliament in early 2017, pay gap reporting has become compulsory for companies with more than 250 employees. A lot was learned in the first year of reporting and we've sought to capture those lessons in our latest blogs below. In many organisations HR and legal teams led the compliance projects, so some communications teams have not yet been able to track the implications for their organisation's reputation and brand.

The language of the pay gap debate has also spread, becoming part of some journalist’s everyday scrutiny of companies. Consistent reporting on the issue from all the major newspapers, accompanied by guides like this one, are helping to build understanding. 

If year one was the start of the conversation, what does the future look like for pay gap reporting? Year two will undoubtedly peel the next layer of the onion. Organisations will be tested against their own rhetoric. Worsening numbers will drive the biggest headlines. In terms of plans – once a women’s network is set up and there’s been unconscious bias training for all – where will companies go? Snapshot data from April 2018 has to be shared within the next 12 months. The clock is still ticking... are you ready for the questions that your staff, stakeholders and customers will ask about next year's numbers? 

 

MORE THAN JUST NUMBERS, COMPANIES MUST CONSIDER THEIR NARRATIVE 

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Companies with more than 250 employees and public sector organisations are now required to annually publish the difference in mean and median pay between male and female employees, including bonus payments. 

We can help you manage the reputation risk, address negative perceptions and establish a positive profile for your diversity and inclusion efforts. Vanessa Pine, Director of Atlas Partners and former special adviser to the Equalities Minister, was part of the team that secured support for these regulations in Government.

As such, we are uniquely well-placed to help you accelerate work to close your gender pay gap, celebrate what you are already doing and prepare for the questions that will arise from staff, stakeholders and the public.

 

GIVING MEANING TO THE METRICS 

There is plenty of guidance for HR professionals on how to calculate the gender pay gap numbers, but very little on what they might mean for corporate reputation. We can help you interpret the figures for your organisation, explain what factors contribute to your pay gap, and showcase what you are doing to reduce it. We can run a bespoke pay gap focussed narrative development workshop and weave equality into your long-term communications strategy.

We can help you remind senior executives and organisation leaders why they should care about diversity enough to drive real change, with a catalogue of case studies and lessons from other brands. Your pay gap narrative will need to challenge preconceptions, pierce complacency and underline the business imperative for creating diverse teams - as well as talking about it.

BATTLES IN GOVERNMENT OVER THE PAY GAP

Atlas Founding Partner, Vanessa Pine reflects on her experience of the pay gap policy battle in Government that will now shape corporate communications plans for 2018 in this blog... 

I was a reluctant feminist in my 20s. More interested in climate change and foreign policy issues, I didn’t want or need any special measures to compete on a level playing field with my male peers. Why should I be considered a special case because of my gender? As an opinionated woman in politics, when it was occasionally suggested that I consider becoming an MP, I rejected the idea that I’d need an all women short-list to do so (quite aside from having no interest in the idea of standing altogether).  

Fast forward ten years and I feel differently now about feminism. So why the change of heart? Keep reading...

Get in touch with us to discuss how to plan for this new statutory reporting requirement. We can help you bring together the right internal stakeholders, prepare for the reputation risk and the potential opportunities it presents for your future communications strategy.