Has slow progress on gender pay dented positivity and commitment?

29 May 2019

Has slow progress on gender pay dented positivity and commitment?

The vast majority of senior business leaders attending a PwC event on gender pay reporting said the measure has had a positive impact on their business.

At the event, to launch the PwC report ‘Promise, Progress or Failure to Prioritise? What We Learned From 2019 Gender Pay Gap Reports’ attendees were polled on their feelings towards gender pay reporting and 82% of respondents said it has had a positive impact. The remaining 18% felt it has had no impact on their business yet. No attendees reported a negative impact.

However, despite such positivity, much of the discussion at the event was dominated by talk of slow progress in shifting the headline figures over the past year.

Real change will take time

A point of discussion was how businesses need to look beyond snap judgements about the headline numbers. Instead, they should establish what change is possible, based on a realistic assessment of the task in hand, and factors such as natural turnover of staff and the availability of the right talent that will be central to rebalancing their organisations.

Attendees acknowledged it may take time before significant changes are evident in the data, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t happening behind the scenes.

Be open and tackle confusion

A number of speakers at the event pointed out that confusion around the difference between gender pay and equal pay persists and that this causes unhelpful discussions about progress.

All organisations have a responsibility to ensure their employees understand what a gender pay gap is, what issues they have and what they are doing to fix it.

Play a role in the wider change needed

Attendees also heard how the root causes of the issue cannot be resolved by addressing only the headline numbers. Participants argued that we need to address gender stereotypes that start to form in the minds of young children.

And there needs to be a commitment to change from the very top of an organisation. Managers need to set an example and make their gender pay gap a strategic business priority. It can’t just be a subject for HR departments or the PR team to tackle in isolation. We need a concerted effort throughout all departments and seniority levels of a business to achieve real change.

For more information, please download our new report or contact us.

At PwC we have specialists across HR, legal, compliance and communications as well as tools and experts in using data analytics to identify the root causes of diversity and inclusion issues.

Katy Bennett

Katy Bennett | Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Director
Profile | Email | +44 (0)7715 211210

More articles by Katy Bennett

Luke Hatter

Luke Hatter | Reward & Employment Director
Profile | Email | +44 (0)161 247 4094

More articles by Luke Hatter

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