Mind the gap: Equal Pay Day 2023

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 Unequal pay sounds like a problem we should have left behind long ago, right?  


Yet a recent study found that as many as 80% of employers — across all employment sectors in the UK — pay men more than women on average 


Whilst the median gender pay gap has narrowed from 27.5% in 1997 to 14.9 % in 2023, pay equity still feels far from reality for many women. In fact, the current gap means that for nearly two months of the year, the average woman in paid employment effectively works for free! 


This disparity is precisely what Equal Pay Day aims to address… 


Get informed about Equal Pay Day


International Equal Pay Day, celebrated on 18 September, is a date dedicated to raising awareness about the gender pay gap and its causes — from maternity leave and unpaid domestic labour to a lack of representation in senior and managerial positions.  


Originating in the United States, this annual event has quickly gained traction around the globe and is now backed by the UN. 


So, what are some of the factors contributing to the gender pay gap in the UK? 


Glass ceilings 


Women often face invisible barriers that make it difficult for them to advance to higher positions.  


Unfortunately, ingrained stereotypes and prejudices still dominate workplaces. From age and appearance to marital status and feminine character traits, women must work twice as hard to prove they’re committed to their careers and can take on leadership roles.  


The ‘motherhood penalty’


Female parents are less likely to be hired or tapped on the shoulder for a promotion. And when they do receive a promotion, they often receive lower salaries than their male counterparts. 


Women are also more likely to experience gaps in employment due to maternity leave or caring for their family. These breaks can be significant, ranging from a few months to several years, and can cause many women to miss out on training and development opportunities that otherwise could help them with their career progression.  


Because of these breaks, women often lose out on the experience or skills they need to re-enter the job market. 


Invisible labour 


Women tend to have less time and energy to focus on work because they typically spend more time doing unpaid work at home, like domestic chores and raising children.  


But this doesn’t always end in the household. In the workplace, women are often tasked with more of the non-promotable tasks that focus on administrative ‘office housekeeping’ — like taking meeting notes, providing emotional support to colleagues and organising team events. 


Although these activities are crucial to keeping a business running smoothly and maintaining company culture, they’re not always valued as strategic — and come with little to no recognition, appreciation, reward or career advantage. 


Don’t ignore the divide


It’s fair to say that women in positions of power are often overlooked — with names like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates usually being the front runners of most ‘entrepreneurial inspiration’ lists… 


But whilst male-led companies still make up much of the landscape, women are taking business into their own hands — literally.  


With more women founding businesses than ever before (a whopping 150,000 in 2022), female-led small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are raking it in and contributing around £85 billion to the annual economic output in the UK. 


Clearly, supporting female businesses and championing women pays off. In fact, closing the gender pay gap could add £150 million to the UK economy by 2025. But what about the women in your business? How do you address the problems closer to home? 


Conduct pay equality audits 


A simple way to remedy your gender pay gap is by conducting pay equity audits. Look for discrepancies between pay rates and ensure all employees of equal experience and similar roles are paid equally — no matter their gender. 


Be transparent about pay


It’s not likely that a woman will ask for an equitable pay raise if she’s in the dark about what her male colleagues earn. When pay is treated as a secret, women typically suffer the most. 


So, publishing the wage ranges for all levels and roles helps to equal the playing field.  


Diversify your candidates


Ensuring potential hires are diverse reduces any temptation to repeatedly hire the same kinds of people. By broadening your search and sticking to interview questions that focus solely on the job criteria, you’ll also minimise the chances of unconscious bias coming into play.  


Invest in female leadership potential


Having consistent conversations about advancement and setting career goals during quarterly reviews can encourage your female workers to pursue opportunities at every level of your business’ ladder. 


By achieving better female representation at the top, you can help diminish the gender pay gap. So, strive for better balance in the boardroom… 


The case is simple. By fostering the talents, experiences and skills of women in your workplace — and offering fair, clear and transparent routes to progression — you can support women to reach their full potential.  


Are you ready to mend the gap?  


At The Brew, we keep our finger on the pulse (and you in the know) so that you can focus on what makes your business great. Check out our other blog posts for insightful tips and tricks — and if you’re looking for a creative space to base your thriving business, visit our private offices in London!