Karen Thomson, diversity and inclusion lead at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, discussed keeping gaps closed in times of flux, as well as looking back on how the organisation successfully reduced its gender pay gap over several years during her online session as part of Employee Benefits Reset on 7 October.
Over the past four years, Fujitsu has successfully reduced its pay gap year-on-year, reducing this from 15.6% to 11.6%. Thomson explained how important knowing what data points mean, understanding what the most important factors in reducing the gap are, prioritising resources and making time to do so.
Thomson said: “In times of flux, it can be very easy to drop everything, or to try and do too many things. The approach we take is to put all of our ideas into a diversity action plan that focuses on recruiting, retaining and maintaining equality, using that data to evaluate everything we do. This way, we have a simplified and focused approach during uncertain times.”
She added that it needs to be a business decision in finding representative to drive this cause, which has been an effective strategy that Fujitsu has implemented to reduce the gap. “We have used our diversity network to ensure that our members are being supported and our initiatives are having an impact,” she explained.
Thomson added how important it is for employers to realise how the pandemic could affect pay; such as pay cuts, furloughing staff, or reducing shift hours.
She rationalised the importance of gender pay gap reduction, citing employees that have equal pay across the organisation outperform those that still have gender inequality. She said: “Employers that do so are also 70% more likely to anticipate a new market, as they are more likely to better understand the needs of its customers.”
She also explained the clear difference between gender pay and equal pay. The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of all men and all women across the whole organisation irrespective of their organisation, while equal pay legislation has been effective for 50 years, ensuring that a male and female are paid the exact same for the role that they undertake.
Additionally, Thomson believes that gender pay gap reporting is just the start to diversity and inclusion, with ethnic pay gap reporting become ever more common in business today. Addressing the gender pay gap will give employers the opportunity to have a head start when it becomes law for employers to submit more pay gap reporting figures. She said: “This is a chance for businesses to demonstrate that gender pay gap reporting is the right thing to do, with regulations being deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic.”
By bringing employees on this journey, organisations will be able to improve the reputation of the business not only with the workforce but also to external talent. Thomson concluded: “Getting this right is absolutely crucial. We are all facing the same barriers, so businesses are not alone in addressing this during a time of crisis.”