Navigating the reputation challenges of gender pay gap reporting

There has never been such pressure by investors and stakeholders to ensure companies are articulating their purpose and social value, including outlining how they are being fair to their employees, suppliers and communities, as part of their Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. One area that will come into sharp focus at the end of this year will be the compulsory disclosure by large Irish employers of potential pay gaps between their male and female employees. 

Following similar initiatives in other countries, the Irish Government has introduced legislation mandating companies with over 250 employees to publish pay gaps between their male and female employees, on an annual basis. Announced in the Government’s ‘National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020’, companies need to provide both data and context: unlike the UK legislation, Irish employers must publish the data, the reasons for any gender pay differences and the measures taken (or proposed) to eliminate or reduce these gaps. 

Reporting requirements 

Companies with over 250 employees will be mandated to outline the following:  

Difference between hourly remuneration of full-time, and part-time male and female employees; 

Difference between bonus remuneration of male and female employees; 

Number of male employees paid a bonus remuneration, and the number of female employees paid such remuneration; 

Number of male employees paid a benefit(s)-in-kind and the number of female employees paid such a benefit-in-kind; 

Difference between hourly remuneration of male employees on temporary contracts and female employees on the same contracts; 

An overview of all employees who fall within different pay bands. 

Companies are asked to select a ‘snapshot’ date in the month of June (2022). The reporting period is the 12-month period immediately preceding and including the snapshot date. Their reporting will be based on the employees they have on this date. Organisations then have six months to prepare their calculations before reporting six months later, during December. 

Publishing the report  

The completed report must be published on the employer’s website or in some other way that is accessible to all its employees and to the public, for at least three years. Current Government plans include the development of an online reporting system for the 2023 reporting cycle consisting of a central portal where employer reports can be uploaded and accessed publicly. 

What to do next?

Organisations should prepare now, to ensure there is ample time to review and understand the reported metrics, produce the compulsory statement to accompany the key statistics and begin working on any initiatives that may be required to address the gender pay gap, if one exists. 

We recommend the following approach: 

Understand what must be reported 

Assess whether your systems can produce the relevant statistical data – and put measures in place to start collating the data 

Calculate and validate any gender pay gaps, analyse root causes, and assess why certain groups of staff are especially affected 

Put together a plan of how you are going to eliminate or reduce these gaps going forward.  

The importance of applying a “reputation lens” to reporting 

IIt is highly likely that key stakeholders such as employees, investors, policymakers, competitors and media will carefully monitor gender pay gap reporting when companies publish their results in December.

Our aim in Reputation Inc is to create a programme that ensures companies can successfully navigate both reputation opportunities and challenges linked to the gender pay gap, and leverage purposeful actions that make a material difference. 

Areas our experienced team can support on include:  

Data review and analysis 

Stakeholder mapping and prioritisation 

Content development, messaging and narrative  

Communications cascade (internal and external) 

Reputation risk assessment – current and future 

Internal and external strategic positioning 

Report structure, design and development 

Executive training and preparation 

Gender Pay Gap reporting may not be the “be-all and end-all” when it comes to solving the issue of gender pay imbalance - it may still be challenging for women to progress up the career ladder. However, this initiative by the Irish government to bring in legislation mandating large companies to report on pay differences between men and women is a step in the right direction.

Hopefully, it will encourage organisations to assess and analyse any issues potentially holding their organisations back in terms of equal pay for men and women, and ultimately making decisions, including creating policies, to combat these issues.  

To learn more about our reputation management services and how we can support your organisation, please email dublin@reputation-inc.com

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