Thoughts on gender equality and pay
There is no argument that a gender pay gap does exist, so I have decided to give you my thoughts on the issue.
Man as the main breadwinner
It amuses me that some people still cling to the view that the male in a partnership has to be the higher earner, or they’re somehow less than a man if their female partner earns more.
Instead of getting into a lather, they should thank their lucky stars they have the love of a highly talented person and give them all the support they need in order to do even better. It’s a partnership, not a competition, stop complaining and just be thankful!
Pay based on the role, not the gender
The chief criteria in choosing a candidate should be purely based on the ability to perform the role and the ability to fit into the company culture and purpose. It’s the qualities that are of primary importance, not the gender of the person concerned.
As a principle that seems entirely fair to me, yet there are still significant differences in pay rates across many markets, and there are, I think a number of reasons behind this.
I can’t speak highly enough of the value that women bring to my business. When it comes to demonstrating loyalty, hunger, commitment, all the elements that make up a great team to work with, I don’t think they could be bettered.
Indeed, if I had to choose between an all-male or all-female team, I would choose the all-female team any time.
And this isn’t because I know I can get away with paying them less than they deserve!
Payment by results
My key consideration when it comes to pay is to see that talent is properly rewarded. I don’t care about your gender, if you are performing well in your job, I am going to see you are properly rewarded for it.
I expect people to be committed and go the extra mile and when they do and bring home the bacon, they will be suitably rewarded.
It’s the right thing to do, it makes business sense, and gender doesn’t come into it.
Please Sir, I want some more!
It’s significant, I think, that it was Oliver who asked for more. Because it’s this, to my mind, that is one of the main reasons for gender pay inequality.
Oliver asked. He might not have got, but he asked.
And in many cases, I think women possibly let themselves down by failing to do so.
Knowing your true worth
Generalisations are dangerous, I know, and some of the toughest negotiators that I have ever encountered have been women.
They negotiated exceptional packages for themselves, but then they were able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and fully justified their demands through the results they achieved.
But I do think that there is a difference between the genders when it comes to selling their perceived value and in how they go about doing so.
In this respect, I think that it is up to women to promote themselves as effectively as possible.
Many may lack the confidence to ask, let alone have a conversation where they can justify that they should be earning more.
But if you don’t ask, it will be assumed that you are happy with your conditions, and if you aren’t and haven’t broached the subject, whose fault is that?
If you believe you are worth more, you have to be prepared to state your case and argue your point.
It’s about self-belief, plus having the confidence to speak up for yourself.
I’m not saying that all employers wish to squeeze their employees as much as possible, of course they don’t.
But bear in mind that wages are a business cost, and the business will not want to have to spend more than is financially prudent on salaries.
So where possible, they will try to negotiate as good a deal for the company as possible, and if you accept without any attempt to increase what is on offer, that’s just what you will get.
If you aren’t prepared to justify your worth, your worth will be determined for you, it’s as simple as that.
Closing the gap
With flexible and hybrid working becoming far more commonplace due to Covid, and with many companies taking stock of their values and becoming more empathic towards colleagues and clients alike, it could be argued that the workplace is becoming a far more female-friendly environment, and nor before time.
But for the pay gap to be reduced, it really is down to the individual, regardless of gender, to display both the confidence in their abilities, and the ability to present a case for the very best package available.
It’s only through having the courage of your convictions that you will get the necessary confidence to state your worth.
Just complaining it isn’t fair might be true, but it doesn’t change anything.
Change comes from tackling the issue head-on, no matter how difficult that feels, it’s the only way to get the parity you deserve.
And in the meantime, I’ll continue to reward hard work, commitment and talent, regardless of gender.
And be willing to listen, and argue if needs be, with anyone who feels that they aren’t getting a fair deal.
Regardless of gender, as it should be.