The question of pay has long been a hot topic and remains to be a taboo in the workplace. It is difficult to find an industry that has honest and candid discussions about pay discrepancies, and the engineering profession is no exception. Is it time for real change? Let us look into the benefits of committing to transparency surrounding pay and how publishing pay gap reports could strengthen both the engineering industry as a whole, as well as the UK’s position as a leader in engineering.
All organisations strive to attract the brightest and most talented minds. There is, of course, an expectation that employers pay it forward and remunerate their employees appropriately in line with industry standards. If employees feel like they are not being paid enough or are working in an environment where honest discussions about business-wide pay is not part of the business culture, then they may develop mistrust and look for opportunities elsewhere, therefore causing business organisations to spend more on recruitment.
Publishing pay gap figures can influence more change than generic ‘we will do better’ statements can. Having the figures published will make employers directly accountable for introducing measures to improve pay gaps relating to, for example, gender.
We believe that in years to come, it will become second nature for business organisations of all sizes and not just those with more than 250 employees to publish pay gap reports. The impact of this can be a catalyst for change, influencing change from business organisations introducing childcare vouchers, flexitime working options and other wellbeing schemes, right down to engineering career workshops in schools aimed at young girls and altering school curriculums so that they are aware of engineering as a career path from an early age.
As a country, we are currently experiencing a shortage in engineers, and if this is left unresolved, it could have serious economic and financial consequences.
We need a diverse workforce in the engineering industry. The UK cannot lead the way in engineering without a diverse workforce, and a step towards this is bringing these figures out into the public eye. Producing pay gap reports is a vital step towards holding organisations to account to bring about real change, both economically and socially.
Maham Azam is a writer at RJ Lifts.