EXCLUSIVE: Employers must harness data transparency to tackle pay gaps

Dawn Moore Overcoming ethnic and gender pay gaps

Employee Benefits Connect 2020: Employers should harness recent advancements in technology and data analysis to help tackle gender and ethnicity pay gaps, says Dawn Moore, group people director at engineering and construction organisation Murphy.

In her session at Employee Benefits Connect 2020 on 26 February, Moore provided attendees with a number of insights into the key challenges faced by employers looking to reduce their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

She mentioned that it will take 200 years to close the current gender pay gap, and that there will not be any requirements to report on ethnicity pay gaps until 2022, despite London, for example, having a gap in which ethnic minority groups earn 21.7% less than white employees, according to 2019 research by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Looking to the future, Moore called for greater transparency of data, a disability pay gap reporting law, and for employers to champion the cause to find the right data to tackle pay gap issues and boost diversity.

She said: “Making something meaningful through closing pay gaps is important for us, there’s a need for a greater insight of data. Gender and ethnicity diversity is crucial, especially in the construction [industry].

“The main challenge with tackling pay gaps is finding the right data; many employees don’t trust their employees with their information. 16% of employers publish incomplete data on their pay gaps because they couldn’t get the right data, while 10% of employees don’t trust submitting information as they feel like it will impact their careers.

“It’s important to put yourselves in the employees’ shoes, transform from the traditional forms of gathering data, and make it more than a statutory requirement.”

Moore explained numerous ways in which employers might create a sense of trust around the idea of gathering accurate data from employees. For example, she suggested forming focus groups to discuss pay gap issues, creating a clear narrative around the purpose of data collection, and introducing self-service data participation for employees to anonymously submit whatever information they feel comfortable disclosing.

She also encouraged employers to trial sharing data on pay gaps before it becomes a legal requirement, to show a proactive rather than begrudging approach to addressing and communicating about pay disparities. Moore closed the session by referring to two videos produced by organisations that showcased the importance of sharing their own information.

More concluded: “Showcasing the importance of this data can help identify key steps to improve and open up discussions in the workplace.”