This week, the experts at Sage Advice have taken over our guest blog to explain what small business owners can be doing to help close the gender pay gap…

With the most recent Gender Pay Gap (GPG) reports showing that 78% of companies have a pay gap in favour of men, many companies are left asking what actions they can take to close the gap within their workplace.

GPG reporting itself is an important first step to tackling the gap, so while small businesses are not currently legally required to report on this figure, if you’re serious about the GPG it’s vital to first identify any gap within your firm. Up to 15% of GPG reports this year had errors so make sure you take the time to understand and follow the process correctly, for example, take a look at this guide to gender pay gap reporting by Sage which helpfully breaks it down step by step.
After identifying your gap, you should also analyse the gender balance at all levels of your company:
        Are there more men than women within senior roles? How about your junior roles?
        Does your current working culture encourage employees of all genders to apply for roles?
        Would offering benefits such as flexible working, childcare or shared parental leave help encourage a more gender equal workplace?

Another concern for small businesses should be unconscious bias. People often base their decisions based on subconscious biases due to culture, background and personal experiences and this can result in them favouring employees who are similar to themselves. Any such prejudices can be combatted through awareness, training and creating a workplace where both genders are equally valued and respected. Consider providing mentorship and leadership training to all staff to help boost their confidence and motivate them to progress. Then when shortlisting employees for advancement, you should encourage decision makers to set aside any gender biases and actively encourage women to apply for more senior roles.
Additionally, if your business is within a sector which is typically male-dominated then promoting female-orientated events and advertising will help encourage more female applicants.
Overall, there are a large number of factors which impact the GPG but businesses of all sizes can make positive changes to the way their company is run to help close the gap.
Find out more about the Gender Pay Gap at Sage Advice.

About the author: Sage Advice

Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs.