working women

Imagine if Companies Had to Publish What They Pay Women vs Men

If you’re smiling and thinking that this will never happen, you’ll have to amend that thought…at least if we’re talking British companies.  As of last Thursday, the legislature in the UK have passed a law requiring employers with over 250 employees to publish the aggregate pay differentials between male and female employees.  While this has been a “voluntary” policy encouraged by the Government for some time, only five (5) companies have done so.  Now, large companies will no longer have a choice.

We admit our choice of cover image is “cheeky” but that’s what we love about the English press…they’re never afraid to be controversial.  We took that image from the Telegraph who published an insightful article about what this means for affected UK companies.  They pointed out 3 issues that will be top-of-mind for businesses:

1.  Measuring pay differentials is tricky.  Beyond simply an audit of titles and salaries, this legislation means employers may have to implement a compensation management system that previously wasn’t in place.  If an employer has not enforced consistent pay policies or had a compensation management system in the past, there will be a lot for the HR department to do.

2.  Pay and recruitment go hand-in-hand.  Pay policies may mean less flexibility in recruiting candidates, which can be difficult for managers navigating a competitive hiring landscape.  On the other hand, it might encourage more “blind” hiring (e.g. the review of resumes without names or gender information)

3.  Companies will likely become more self-conscious about culture as perceived by their female employees.  Armed with the data, women may feel more emboldened to ask for raises, promotions and for ‘different’ or ‘better’ working conditions, overall.

While it might be hard to imagine something this happening in America, where most of Fairygodboss‘ audience lives, the United States does offer some parallels.  Last fall, the Obama administration mandated that contractors with over 50 employees and $50,000 in federal revenues disclose demographic and pay information to the U.S. Labor Department in an “Equal Pay Report”.  So you never say never…one day the United States might be following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom.

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