The debate on gender diversity and the gender pay gap has served to highlight the varying views that exist in terms of the impact that increased transparency can have. Whether you agree with the government’s decision to require larger companies to publish their pay gap or not, the decision has forced debate as to the impact that reporting can have and, more importantly, the ways in which meaningful and sustained changed can be delivered.
Deloitte supported the Prime Minister’s proposals to require larger companies to publish their gender pay gap and we published our own data in 2015 in our annual Impact Report. For us this was a critical step in showing that we are serious about the issue of tackling gender diversity in our firm. While our gap did not surprise us and in reality confirmed what we knew, it enabled us to confirm that we are focusing on the right actions, namely: attracting more women into our firm; enabling their development; and providing an environment within which they can balance a successful career with life outside work. Our gap stands at 17.8% (around 1.3% below the national figure), but the pay gap between male and female employees at each grade is significantly lower, at 1.5% on average.
While our organisation sees gender diversity as a key business priority, I am in no doubt that attaching a number further focuses the attention. It has allowed us to once again clearly communicate our priorities and the progress we are already making; it also enabled us to re-state where we need to get to and the clear actions that we need to take to get there. We have published these actions on our intranet for all our people to see and we regularly report on our progress against these – for example, at the end of 2014 we stated in this plan that we would conduct a feasibility study for a return to work internship programme for women who have been out of the workplace for two years or more. Last September we welcomed our first cohort of these women for a 12 week internship (with over half of them going on to find a permanent role in the firm) and we look forward to welcoming our next cohort this coming September.
Alongside these consistent actions, however, sits the clear need for us to ensure that our culture is one where women are able to succeed without compromising their family and other commitments – thus we continue to work hard on our respect and inclusion and agile working initiatives.
Reporting our gender pay gap has been a positive experience for us. Our staff and other stakeholders have had nothing but positive comments and it has made it possible for us to continue to tell our story in a more meaningful and fully transparent way.