After several years of the CIPR publishing in-depth data and analysis of PR’s £8,483 gender pay gap, it’s fantastic to see that a clear majority of the businesses in our industry are now willing to pull their finger out and start to deliver action.
New research published in PRWeek makes for an interesting, at times depressing, but not surprising, read, and I’m glad to see Francis Ingham and Mary Whenman working together to deliver tangible steps that combine a good deal of carrot for PRCA Members, with a sufficient amount of stick.
The CIPR fully supports any steps to deliver pay transparency and I truly believe that voluntary reporting that goes beyond the government’s proposed limited approach could be transformative for the sector.
Gender pay aside, this shift in the narrative towards an open conversational approach to pay should also have positive effects on those concerned with other employment inequalities – such as ethnicity, disability and age – and deliver significant benefits for all in the workplace. It’s a simple fact, employees who know and understand how their pay is set and can see that they are fairly paid compared with their colleagues are more likely to be engaged and perform better.
Yet pay transparency will not see the end of the gender pay gap on its own. Our own research leads us to the conclusion that the PR pay gap is proliferated by poor standards of people and performance management. This has resulted in salaries and rewards often being set on an ad hoc basis, with little or no justification for James earning ten to fifteen thousand pounds more than Julie.
Organisations should consider this overlooked management skill as essential rather than a ‘nice to have’. We must, therefore, equip our senior and middle managers in public relations to not just be the jolly nice chap, who owns a laptop, is good with words and has a solid contact book, but rounded professionals, who also have the expertise and knowledge, as well as the systems and processes in place, to genuinely deliver equal pay.
I’d encourage any employer or employee looking to catch-up on delivering equal pay to investigate CIPR’s extensive selection of gender balance and equal pay resources. Every one of these tools and examples showcase how equal pay can be delivered in simple steps and not be a burden on business and growth, but as an Institute we know that we must move beyond simply pointing people in the right direction for guidance and advice if we are to deliver real behaviour change.
We have already sat down with partners across the personal development sector to thrash out the initial stages of what the Institute can deliver to support skills development in this area, as well as taking steps to set out our own standards of best practice in line with our Code of Conduct. I look forward to driving this forward and working alongside all partners who share the CIPR’s passion in taking real tangible steps to end this inequality once and for all.