Comms will play a critical role in gpg reporting

Around 9,000 employers will have to report their gender pay gap by April next year, but while the Government guidelines thoroughly explain the reporting procedure, there is very little information about how to communicate your data.

The role of comms cannot be underestimated. The British overall gender pay gap (GPG) between men and women is currently 18 per cent, a figure that increases to 39.5 per cent in financial services.

Reporting the Gender Pay Gap is a positive step towards reinforcing equality and will be the necessary catalyst to improve transparency and drive action within organisations.

However, there will be many businesses feeling uncomfortable with their current GPG and the associated brand and reputation risks.

These risks could have a direct impact on the value of an organisation.

Developing a clear communications strategy alongside HR policy is critical to mitigate this. Organisations will need to address the interests of employees, stakeholders and the media.

The first step is to understand the root causes for the GPG and the context around how and why it exists within an organisation – there are numerous and complex issues surrounding this, including recruitment policies, unconscious bias, unequal parental leave, flexible working penalties and, possibly, unequal pay.

Secondly, organisations need a clear strategy and plan on how to address these issues – some initiatives and policies may already exist and others may need to be reviewed or created.

Finally, companies need to be open and transparent with their employees and stakeholders on what is already being done now, and what the plan is to address the issue in the long term.

A single GPG figure will not tell the whole story, so it’s crucial that leaders provide context, a clear plan and bring their employees and stakeholders on board in order to demonstrate their commitment to equality.

Media will also be on the lookout for ‘poor performers’. Make no mistake, there will be league tables and name-and-shame stories.

A business that faces a poor gender pay gap within their industry will need to be prepared for questioning and select well-chosen spokespeople with solid messaging.

On the plus side, if your GPG is a positive story this is a great opportunity to promote your employer brand, which is another reason to have a strong GPG comms strategy.

This article was first published in PRWeek 

Join Golin and The Fawcett Society with a panel of experts for an evening of  discussion on how best to communicate your gender pay gap. We will also hear the headlines from Golin’s GPG corporate risk research. Find out more here