Around 10,000 companies and public bodies filed their gender pay gaps for 2023 revealing that the median pay gap remains stubbornly wide at 9.4% – the same level as in 2017-18, when employers were first required to publish the information.
The government made it clear that the significant gap would take up to five years for businesses to close. So it’s frustrating to see that 5 years down the line we haven’t made much progress on this matter.
We’ve previously written about how technology can be used to identify gender pay gaps.
Many HR tech vendors have incorporated new modules to make it easier to collect data for relevant reports. But how near are they to helping businesses close the gap altogether?
Using technology to identify gender pay gaps
At Silver Cloud HR, we are passionate about using HR technology to solve data-collection issues. Thanks to artificial intelligence and automation, it’s much easier to download comprehensive reports. But extracting the relevant data isn’t always straight-forward.
To gather the information in a single dashboard, you may need an integrated payroll and HR system. After all, if details relating to contractual working hours and pay information are collated in separate systems, it could take significant man-hours to extrapolate the information. Historically, the inaccessibility of such data has partially caused the pay gap. Without the in-house time or skills to create the manual dashboards, it was easier to simply ’do nothing’.
Support from software providers
Since the reporting of the gender pay gap came into effect, it was pleasing to see many software vendors developing new modules and processes to simplify the reporting process.
Gapsquare has been leading the way in applying data science to HR decision-making. Their software allows HR teams to analyse their data to determine pay transparency as well as gender and diversity pay gaps.
Of course, if you have already installed an HRIS, you may find that they already have gender pay gap reporting modules. For example, Cascade has incorporated a new reporting element to assist users with UK pay gap reporting regulations. With two options available, the module includes the six figures required for the gender pay gap reporting.
Taking steps to eliminate the gender pay gap
If the technology is available to report on any pay gaps, can it be used to eliminate them altogether?
There’s certainly no quick fix when it comes to closing the gender pay gap. There are things that businesses can do to minimise any pay gaps from occurring though.
Starting from the very beginning of the recruitment process, it’s no secret that HR technology has revolutionised the talent acquisition process. Automation and AI should be digital allies in the gender pay gap battle. You can effectively use it to reduce the likelihood of any bias, better identify and screen candidates and make informed unbiased decisions.
As we move further into the employment phase, businesses will want to consider the impact of career breaks. Women are more likely to take career breaks to look after children or care for relatives. This is where significant gender pay gaps start to emerge. Businesses need to work hard to support women in the workplace with a combination of flexible hours and remote working. Even making use of systems such as Skype or Google Hangout to replace lengthy meetings could be enough to make it easier for a woman to return to work, or not leave at all!
This provides companies with a clear recruitment incentive to attract higher calibre candidates who may otherwise have felt driven out of the workplace.
Gender reporting – not just once a year
If we are serious about eliminating the gender pay gap, data needs to be monitored throughout the year, not just for the reporting deadline. If companies set targets, they can track and measure their progress, and take proactive steps to rectify any gender discrepancies.
The technology is there to identify the number of female applicants vs female hires. It is also possible to monitor how many women have received promotions and career development opportunities compared to men. HR teams can also compare the starting salaries of both male and female employees and identify who has received any financial bonuses.
By continually monitoring these statistics, you can predict at what stage of the employment process the gender pay gap begins to appear.