Equal pay may be an emotive topic for many but driving change doesn’t have to be – according to one industry head, HR professionals will have far more success if they stick to the facts and figures.
“My advice to any employer looking to close the gender pay gap is really simple – just make a start,” says Claire Walker, group general manager of HR for SKYCITY Entertainment Group.
“Start by doing the analysis, really lifting the bonnet and having a look at your pay structures,” she continues. “It’s a great way of having the conversation across the business because it’s quite a dispassionate, factual exercise and it takes the emotion out of it.”
Walker – who is on the judging panel at this year’s YWCA Equal Pay Awards – she says hard facts are crucial when discussing pay parity as the vast majority of employers don’t intentionally discriminate.
“Companies don’t set out to discriminate so it’s quite shocking and surprising when they’re confronted with that data,” she tells HRM.
“While the conversation can be quite confronting and shocking for people, it has to be where you start,” she stresses. “Do the analysis, have a discussion around what you find and then identify what practical steps you can start to take.”
While employers certainly can’t expect to close the gap overnight, Walker says even one initiative can make a world of difference within an organisation – like it did for SKYCITY.
“An initiative that we entered into the awards in the first year was around looking at the annual salary review,” says Walker. “We added an indictor to the dashboard that managers see when they’re allocating the annual salary budget which shows how much they were allocating to male employees compared to female employees.”
After several years in operation, Walker says the initiative has had a significant impact.
“This year 80 per cent of our women actually got a higher percentage increase than the men so it’s just that old management adage of what gets measured gets managed,’ she tells HRM.
“When they have a dashboard in front of them which shows you’ve allocated 60 per cent of your budget to the male team members and only 40 per cent to the female team members, they’re quite confronted by that,” she continues.
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