Pay Gap Reporting and Gender

As I am sure we’re all aware, and as I talked about recently here, the BBC created somewhat of a storm when it was revealed that there’s a shocking pay gap permeating throughout the corporation.

A million reports later, and a blizzard of critics raining down, the BBC is under extreme pressure from both the public and the legal system to affect change. With a plethora of female stars calling on the BBC to sort out the pay gap, and worldwide awareness, we can hope that this will be an issue rectified before next year’s report is due. Though, with many male stars’ full salaries remaining undisclosed, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

But as the world’s eye turns to the UK’s Gender Pay Gay Reporting, it may well be that smaller businesses will also have to start reporting. However, there are two very important distinctions that I feel need to be cleared up.

Pay Gap Reporting vs Equal Pay

First of all, the gender pay gap report does not mean the same as ‘equal pay’. Equal pay focuses on the earnings of men and women working the same job, whereas the pay gap report examines the difference between average earnings throughout a company, regardless of position.

Gendered Reporting

As is becoming a more necessary discussion, the legal way in which we approach gender may have to change. Whilst equal pay doesn’t refer to man or woman, the pay gap report explicitly defines two sexes ‘male’ and ‘female’. However, this doesn’t take into consideration an increasing population of non-binary people who do not associate with the classical definitions of gender.

Further to this point, those who describe themselves as ‘gender-fluid’ – those who do not  identify themselves as having a fixed gender and can, for instance, identify as a man one day, and a woman the next – will need to be accounted for.

Google on Gender

This news comes on the back of a storm currently embroiling Google after a document was leaked from an engineer which bemoans the company’s diversity efforts. In the letter the unnamed male employee states that the gender gap is down to biological differences between men and women, rather than biases or discrimination.

Whilst there has been some support for the letter, it has been broadly lambasted as being ‘unkind’ and, more technically, by a Google security expert named Parisa Tabriz who stated, “inclusion is not a zero-sum game. Making your team or organisation a more inclusive place for X does not mean discrimination against ‘not X'”

So as the issue of gender and pay comes evermore to the fore, this will certainly mean future changes to the law and legal definitions, and if you’re a company that needs to report, something you need to stay on the edge of. Even if you’re not a company that’s reporting now, we are sure to see SMEs included in the government survey in the next few years.

My advice: run your company like you need to report. This is not about just keeping up appearances, but genuinely affecting change and creating a more equal society.

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