Recently, a major settlement was announced: Care workers in women-dominated industries will get pay rises worth up to a $5000 a year after a historic settlement with the government.
In all, the package will cost more than $2 billion. It is the first legal settlement in New Zealand which recognises that some jobs pay less because they are done mainly by women.
As organisations take in this ruling and its ramifications, we as HR professionals need to take notice. This is the biggest invitation we have seen for HR to have a true voice and provide insight that can impact on the business’s bottom line. This ruling means your organisation needs HR to provide guidance and advice on this tricky path.
How are you placed to deal with this ruling? Is the data for your organisation accessible, and can it be meaningful? Here are my five recommendations to take advantage of this opening:
- Understand your current gender bias. Be able to analyse and deliver your current pay/benefits by gender. What is the gap, and why? Can you access your data, and do you have the tools to deal with it?
- Make your data matter. The way you present your data needs to deliver a statement to the business. Your finding is that women are paid less than men, but at this level, it does not tell you much. You need to be able to slice and dice the data to focus on the areas where it matters. What does the gender bias look like when you add performance ratings, talent ratings, risk of loss, time since last increase, etc.?
- Provide actions and recommendations. Once you have that level of information, a statement like “women are paid 3% lower than men” is not an actionable statement. A more effective statement might be, “Women in like-for-like jobs compared with their male counterparts earn 4% less than men. This is particularly magnified around women with 2-3 years’ tenure in their current role and a performance rating of 3 or 4. These women are paid 6.5% less than their male counterparts in the same situation. We recommend a one-off pay increase for this population of staff of 6.5% to close the gap.”
- Have the tools and benchmarks to be able to understand your data. Ensure that you have the tools to get the information you need out of your HRIS/Talent Management and that you can present it succinctly. Having tools that allow you to quickly analyse the information is key.
- Have policies to deal with inequality. Understanding and dealing one-off with equality is a great measure; however, policies should be put in place to ensure consistency over time. Enact policies such as pay increases for women on parental leave (or return from work).
Let’s take this opportunity and be prepared to provide value and impact to the business.
For more on this topic, see Pay Inequity: It’s Time To Take Action.