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By Sarah Bakewell,
AWE Diversity and Inclusion Manager
By the end of March 2018, and every year after, all organisations with over 250 staff have to publish information on the gender pay gap in their company.
These figures have to be published both on the government’s website and the company’s website.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between gender pay and equal pay.
Having a gender pay gap is not illegal, having equal pay gaps is.
Equal pay is about two people doing the same job and being paid the same.
Gender pay is essentially putting all the salaries of the women and all the salaries of the men into two buckets and reporting on the differences at specific points.
The national average for the gender pay gap is 18.4%; at AWE, ours is 16.7%. So overall we are below the national average but we need to do better.
The good news is that we have already been doing some great work towards improving our offering to women at AWE, but I’m really keen that in doing so we don’t make the men in the organisation feel excluded.
AWE has been a member of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) for several years now. We were original signatories of the Wise 10 Steps programme, which is an industry-led programme to attract and retain women in science and engineering. The great news is that, using the 10 Steps diagnostics, we have already shown a 25% improvement and there’s more to come.
Best practice says to set aspirational goals to achieve gender balance and that’s just what AWE has done. Our goal is to achieve 50:50 gender balance on all new hires, including on our apprentice and graduate programmes. This may be seen as a challenge but we know other organisations have been able to achieve this so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t!
To achieve our gender balance goal there is a whole range of activity that we need to do. We need to raise our profile to potential candidates to ensure we have a good gender balance in our applications which in turn means a greater pool of people invited to interview and, ultimately, hired. We need to make sure that working at AWE is an attractive prospect for everyone – from apprentices to senior roles. And we have some great advantages including the 9 day fortnight, above average maternity and shared parental leave benefits and a good work/life balance.
Overall, across the UK workforce the gender pay gap is there because women have traditionally taken on roles which have more flexibility and these have tended to be in support services where pay is lower. There are also fewer women in senior roles although this has started to change and at AWE, three of our last four hires to the Executive Team have been women.
Closing the gender pay gap will take time, but I’m confident that we’ll get there in an inclusive way.
You can read our report in full here.