Pay equity forum

Thanks to everyone for coming along to the Pay Equity issues forum (30 Aug, 2018) - it was fabulous to see you all there, and particularly pertinent given it landed on the eve of equal pay day. As I had written on LinkedIn earlier that day, "On the eve of Pay Equity day, where the gender pay gap based on WGEA data is 22.4%, meaning men working full-time earn nearly $27,000 a year more than women working full-time, instead of just getting angry let's do something about it."

Liberty provided a fabulous overview for us all.

Six top tips for prosecuting an equal pay agenda:

  1. The gap is between 15 - 20%.

  2. This is caused by a leadership gap, occupational segregation, industry segregation, salary negotiation gap, inequity to access to discretionary pay, bias, flexible work and perception of part time work and career breaks.

  3. It's fundamental discrimination

  4. If you don't have fairness and equity then you have poor culture which will inevitably impact your bottom line and organizational success - the evidence is in.

  5. The gap is a hangover from the 50s post war workforce where the mentality was that the man was always the main breadwinner

  6. Directors should ask questions at the Board table and not allow themselves to be put off when seeking information - it's the law and there is a specific correlation to the Directors and Officers duties and obligations to always act in the best interests of the organisation - how does presiding over a gender pay gap fulfill that responsibility?

So, how do we go about this?

  1. Ask for the data - you must and you can. Be prepared to educate fellow Directors. If culture eats strategy for breakfast, you will not succeed without alignment - Chair, CEO, Senior Management.

  2. Use the data from management to discuss the core issues - what does the data reveal?

  3. Address the gap - insist they develop a plan to close the gap. Be relentless about this. Ensure all the necessary infrastructure is in place to eliminate the gap - paid parental leave, promotions while on parental leave, flexible work, promotion pathways, lateral hires/negotiation biases, transparency - report to all staff and preferably externally, no prohibition on discussing pay. Seek awards and citations. Tie overcoming the gender pay gap to CEO remuneration and reward.

  4. Address the prevailing cultural

  5. Issues that the data reveals - training etc

  6. Ensure that you have ongoing governance to make it all business as usual - audit, risk, people, reputation, ASX/Government/ISO guidelines.

  7. Sign the pledge

Supporting documents

Closing the Gender Pay Gap Legal Framework and pay equity - key considerations for organisations in managing their legal risk on the pay equity journey

At the end of the discussion, what did you say your actions were? They included:

  • Ask the Board Chair about views on gender pay equity

  • Look at gender pay equity through a risk and governance lens

  • Sign the pledge; raise issues of equity linked to audit and risk

  • Raise the audit question even though we are a small organisation

  • Sign the pledge; write a paper for board

  • Start discussion around gender pay gap

  • Speak up

Things that stood out for the group:

  • Hearing about linking KPIs of CEO with gender pay equity

  • Steps to make gender equity practical

  • Audit and risk lens, and linking to KPIs of CEO

  • How to be impactful and the value of taking this to Audit and Risk Committee

  • Openness and practical tips

  • Key strategies

  • Transparency (of pay etc)

  • Noting that the same principles apply across different issues

And the one word that summed up the discussion? Practical, focussed, positive, brilliants, insightful, informative and enlightening.

Finally, we decided to meet again in six months' time, as an informal community of practice around gender equity issues in governance. At that time, we could share progress, opportunities and challenges. So keep an eye out in March next year for our next check-in!

A huge thank you to the fabulous Liberty Sanger for providing such wonderful food for thought, and to Maurice Blackburn lawyers for hosting the event. And, of course, to you and all the work you do for good governance and equity.


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