Teresa Boughey: Moving forward from uncomfortable truths about gender pay


Another year of gender pay reporting for organisations with more than 250 people has continued to provide opportunities for organisations to really take stock and measure their progress on diversity and inclusion.

For some, the initial widening of the gap is likely to be unsurprising. As with many other things, when shining a spotlight upon it, the situation may get a little worse before it gets better.

Rather than shying away, burying the figures or coming up with excuses, what is really important is to fully take stock and implement sustainable measures to improve diversity and inclusion.

The recent publication of the latest findings of the Hampton-Alexander Review, updated in November 2018, placed an emphasis on those organisations falling behind; while progress is being made, it is not as transformational as we initially hoped.

Media focus often remains on gender pay. While this is important and a measurable metric, the improvements in diversity policy should not be confined to this area alone. A business should not be let off the hook just because it has implemented one policy specifically aimed at one area of diversity.

For an organisation to become truly diverse, a holistic approach that supports everyone and encompasses all areas of the business is necessary.

An employee’s experience starts right from the initial job application, and prospective applicants will do their research, so organisations should publish a narrative to accompany the data available in the public domain, detailing both the short and long-term policies being implemented to improve disparities.

When candidates attend job interviews, all needs and reasonable adjustments should be made; this may include things such as when and where the interview takes place, having a reader or scribe, or providing documents in a larger font. The on-boarding process is important too; businesses should be aware of anything that needs to be put in place, and many organisations are adopting an approach whereby all roles are offered on a flexible basis as standard.

While the gender spotlight is important when it comes to raising the profile of diversity as a whole, employers need to adopt a holistic and sustainable approach that benefits everyone in order to move forward and be able to say they are truly diverse.

Teresa Boughey MA FCIPD is a UK Female Entrepreneur Ambassador and a member of the Women and Enterprise and Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Groups