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Blog: Your mean, your median… and your motivation

For all of you responsible for reporting your organisation’s Gender Pay Gap (GPG), it’s time to get cracking.

Your ‘snapshot’ pay date has come and gone (where did the time go?) and the Government’s GPG reporting website is up and running.  A few brave employers have even posted their data already, with Sense Scotland claiming a 0% GPG.

Are you one of those employers who is still thinking “Hmm, yes, gender pay gap, I must look into doing something about that”?  Or have you done all the number crunching and can confidently tell me both your mean and your median gender pay gaps (and remember the difference?).

With all the necessary pay data now sitting in your payroll system, there’s no time like the present for unpacking it all and cracking on with your reporting.  Indeed, I’d suggest that the sooner you do it, the sooner you can start to fathom where your particular gender pay gap comes from and what you might do about reducing it prior to next year’s snapshot date.

You can make immediate improvements

There is every chance that you can make some positive changes to reduce your GPG before next March or April if you put your mind to it.  It’s not just a case of having to make costly and time-consuming contractual changes.  Most employers will have a number of easier options for reducing their gaps.

If overtime pay had been included in the official calculation formula, I would naturally have suggested that ensuring completely fair access to overtime would be a good start – but the Government decided to exclude overtime pay from the GPG figures.  (I think this was a political decision to make employers’ GPG figures look better.  If you’re going to look at true notional hourly pay rates, why on earth exclude overtime pay?  I suggest it’s because the vast majority of overtime is worked by men and overtime rates tend to be more generous than normal pay rates.)

So, while ensuring fully gender-fair take-up of overtime is still a very good idea, it will not affect your official GPG.  But other areas that similarly don’t involve changes to contractual terms may, in your organisation, perhaps include trying to ensure both equality of access and equality of outcome for other discretionary payments, such as bonuses, awards and rewards.

Equality of outcome

Is this genuinely true in your organisation already?  Even if you are confident that you offer fully gender-fair equality of access to discretionary payments, what about equality of uptake and outcome?  This is precisely why the GPG reportable figures include a separate line for your bonus GPG – because even if your bonuses are available to both genders, for the vast majority of employers the men tend to end up with higher bonus payments on average.

If you can’t work out why your men are getting higher bonus payments on average, dig deeper.  Consider trialling name-blind bonus assessments if you can, to remove conscious and unconscious bias.  Perhaps also use a manager from another department as a moderator, someone who can’t easily guess who ‘Employee 2’ actually is, and see if you can improve the equality of the results.

And what about rewards and awards for going the extra mile or volunteering for a trip abroad, completing a difficult project ahead of time, and so on?  Are your pay-outs equal or do men tend to dominate? If so, how can you try to ensure not just equality of access but equality of outcome?  Is unconscious bias at play, so that it’s Richard who’s encouraged to make the business trip abroad because of course Sue “won’t want to leave her kids for a week”?

Are things such that only by working many extra unpaid hours into the evenings is the way to complete a project on time or ahead of schedule, thus greatly favouring your men?  What might you do about that?

Sometimes surprisingly easy

Whilst, certainly, reducing your GPG to zero would probably require a great deal of effort and quite possibly some substantial changes in your pay structure, recruitment, management attitudes, etc., the chances are that there are also some ‘easy wins’ if you look for them.  And it all helps.

Good luck with your number-crunching and analysis, and if you’d like any help or just a free chat, do give me a call on 0117 325 0921 or email me at

Can our Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay services help you? Take a look at our range of fixed price Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay advice services, from a quick sense-check of your GPG calculations through to a detailed Equal Pay audit and help with restructuring your pay policies.

Luke Menzies

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