Why 2018 should be the year for change in putting equality first

Firms shamed in gender pay gap should look to smaller, more dynamic companies as an example, says Anne McNamara

Recent laws now forcing employers to reveal the gender pay gap in their workforce have created a significant impact on the UK’s gender pay gap reporting. With an unforgiving light on pay disparities, companies are now forced to take measures to eliminate gender pay gaps.

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation. As CEO of Shine Bid Services, I decided to analyse the pay across the company and found no gender pay gaps. My findings concluded that more than 50% of the workforce is made up of women, with more than 50% of C-level positions also held by females.

Putting equality first

As the CEO of one of the UK’s leading businesses on winning government and highly regulated bids, I strongly believe it is time for industry giants who pay women less than men to follow the example of smaller businesses. For example, Shine Bid Services’ diverse workforce is behind the organisation’s success.

In 2008 Shine Bid was founded as a consultancy focused on delivering end-to-end bid management.  Quite simply, we help our clients win more bids more often. In eight years we have become the UK’s fastest growing bid management company, helping our clients win more than £7.75bn in bids more than 75% of the time.

Equality is at the heart of our workplace ethos and we are proud to have a strong representation of LGBT, age and race within the team. As something many organisations should adopt, having a diverse workforce has the potential to not only benefit you and your staff but your customers as well. An inclusive team has the ability to produce new ideas and strengthen networks and communities.

Shine Bid employs a unique blend of subject matter experts, analysts, political specialists, tech innovators, construction managers and marketers in a fun, challenging culture that contrasts with traditional consultancy norms. Shine Bid invests 5% of turnover in training and coaching to ensure everyone internally develops to their potential.

We know most organisations already operate an equality and diversity policy. This helps to boost a safe and inclusive working environment and organisational performance, however, we most commonly hear questions about how diversity is measured and what sort of targets are to be set.

With the debate on the gender pay gap, this highlights the unwillingness we face in our organisations, to measure an issue and take steps to address it. It is noted that organisations of all sizes and sectors have a gender pay gap, and this may be close to, or divert from, the national figure of 14%, according to EU figures. But progressing the equality and inclusion agenda means putting attention on compiling the statistics on what is an organisation’s gender pay gap, and articulating what appear to be the internal contributing factors.

I applaud the new rules on the gender pay gap, as they will help employers identify company weaknesses and take steps to tackle them. Helping women to reach their full potential is not only the right thing to do but it makes economic sense.

Appreciating talent no matter what form it comes in has been a big factor behind our success.  Shine Bid was named among the top 400 fastest growing private companies in Europe by Inc. 5000. Ranking in 396th place, the result was based on Shine’s three-year revenue growth. Shine’s attitude is ‘grow or die’ and we are thrilled to be recognised by Inc. 5000 for our own strong growth. Racking up more than a hundred years’ worth of experience in bidding, our highly talented workforce is relentless in winning bids and we are now working with Plcs, Fortune 500s and VC backed start-ups globally.

Steps for moving forward

Is there misperception with equal pay? Definitely. Misinformation around equal pay is adding to this confusion and restlessness on measuring the gender pay gap. So explanation is the first step. A lack of equal pay, where men and women are not paid the same rate for the same work and job is illegal and should not exist in your organisation. A gender pay gap is more likely to be created by having more men than women in senior positions and more women than men in junior positions, leading to a pay average for men that is higher than the average pay for women.

There is nothing to suggest that organisations are purposely discriminating on gender lines, but what it is highlighting is that there appears to be a consensus that the gap should not only be narrowed, but disappear altogether.

So let’s pull the facts together, influence the pay narrative in the organisation, set some improvement targets, and cause change to happen. Remember, 2018 is a very significant year for change for a lot of us. It’s time we use this time to provide momentum.

Source: Financial Director

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