Duncan Brown (pictured), head of HR consultancy at the Institute for Employment Studies, will be delivering a keynote presentation on unequal pay at Employee Benefits Live 2015 on 22 September.
The session, entitled ‘Addressing unequal pay: opening Pandora’s box’, will discuss the gender pay gap reporting requirements, the details of which are the subject of a government consultation currently underway.
Brown said: “The reporting requirement comes from a push from the EU generally, where the commission is updating its five-year gender equality strategy.
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“I think there was a sense that the [unfavourable] economy had sidelined equality and that now it needs to be reintegrated as a key part of economic growth.
“Poor female employment rates and poor female pay rates are economically damaging. As the economy is back to growth now, we need to address the issue.”
Brown will look at the potential impact of the gender pay reporting regulations, which he believes will have a largely positive impact, particularly as a means of bringing the issue to board-level attention.
The session will also examine why so few employers have voluntarily conducted equal pay audits. “Some organisations don’t see [unequal pay] as an issue, so they’re not prepared to investigate,” said Brown. “At the other extreme, some organisations see it as an issue but worry about the cost of addressing it, which can be significant. For some employers, it’s not an easy issue to investigate and there are other corporate priorities.”
Brown added that pay audits serve to highlight the issues impacting female pay, such as the lack of women in senior and high-paid roles.
While his keynote speech will examine how employers can address unequal pay between the genders in advance of the legislation, Brown added that fair pay should be seen as part of an organisation’s wider remuneration strategy.
“Rather than just looking at fair pay [organisations] should be looking at all of [their] remuneration policy; reward and performance, paying fairly and competitively – it all needs to go together.”
Employee Benefits Live 2015 will take place at Olympia National, London, on 21-22 September.