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Claire Taylor-Evans
Claire Taylor-Evans,
SENIOR ASSOCIATE - SOLICITOR
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How can technology be used to help improve a company’s gender pay gap?
24 July 2019

Co-authored by Rachael Brenchley, Trainee, Employment Group

In the 2018-2019 reporting period, 78% of companies still had a pay gap in favour of men, with the pay gap having actually increased in favour of men in 45% of companies. The gender pay gap across tech companies is currently higher than the UK average.

The tech industry faces problems relating to equality and diversity, which is no doubt fuelled by perceptions of a lack of available career progression and pay inequalities within the sector – leading to a cycle of fewer women wishing to enter the profession. Companies who report a pay gap between their employees are at risk of facing ramifications including reputational damage as a result; we all know of the backlash faced by the BBC when they revealed the difference in pay between their staff. 

Companies who are obliged to publish their gender pay gap data have the opportunity to provide an accompanying report which explains the results and offers a dialogue of what steps have been identified which could improve the pay gap within the company in future years. Of the companies who elected to do so, many of them cited reasons such as recruitment issues and the impact of women choosing to take career breaks as contributing factors. 

It has been reported that pay parity is unlikely to be achieved in the UK for 50 years. However, there are ways in which employers can use technology to help achieve quicker progress within their own company, such as:

  1. Artificial intelligence is already used by some companies to assist with their recruitment practices. Software which screens and scores applicants objectively reduces the risk of managers being unintentionally influenced to think a certain way about candidates as a result of their internal preferences (also known as ‘unconscious biases.’) This can also apply to decisions relating to promotions, which may assist with ensuring that women are more likely to be successful in securing more senor, better-paid job roles.
  2. One reason which has been given for a gender pay gap within an organisation is that following an extended period of time away from employment, perhaps due to raising children, women are more likely to return to part-time roles or those which are more flexible (and consequently are less senior.) Non-traditional working practices, such as flexible hours or remote working, have made it easier than ever for both male and female employees to successfully balance their work/home lives. The provision of devices such as tablets and laptops, along with promotion of family-friendly policies, has been shown to aid with female staff retention and progression. 
  3. The use of technology to aid with monitoring and analysing employee pay is an invaluable tool to ensure that any irregularities can be identified and potentially corrected. Many organisations have complex pay and bonus structures which apply to a vast amount of employees, and therefore it is vital to understand the factors which affect the make-up of employee remuneration and therefore the causes of a pay discrepancy. 

How we can help

Clearly there is a long way to go to in tackling the gender pay gap issue; however these small steps are good ways of ensuring that your business is heading in the right direction. In addition, Boyes Turner’s employment team are able to assist, with services such as the preparation of gender pay gap reports, and providing ‘unconscious bias’ training to staff.

If you would like to know more, please contact Claire Taylor-Evans ([email protected].)

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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