Two months ago I was walking in my hometown of Bristol, England. I passed a modern office with glass walls and my curiosity compelled me to look inside. I saw a conference room with about ten people in it. All of them were men.
Is the Gender Gap Still Prevalent in the Workplace?
When we talk about the gender gap in the workplace, there are two factors to consider. Firstly, that there are more men working than women. Secondly, that those women are not paid the same amount as men. Despite numerous countries creating laws to eradicate the gender pay gap, it is still very much present in today’s society. This isn’t just a problem for us in the UK: the problem is worldwide.
The American Association of University Women explains why the gender gap still exists for so many of us in the workplace. For full-time men and women, they claim that there is still a 20% pay gap in the USA. How is this possible?
- Industries: There is a disproportionate amount of women working in jobs such as education, administration and care. Men, on the other hand, are dominant in construction, maintenance and transportation. Many of these jobs are higher paid and as such, men are paid more than women.
- Maternity Leave and Part Time Work: Many women choose to do their job part-time whilst caring for their children. In this instance, they usually receive less pay than a full-time employee. In addition to this, maternity pay is a big issue for women in the workplace as many struggle with finances during their maternity leave.
- Discrimination: Despite how far we’ve come with working towards a gender-equal workforce, there is still some discrimination against women. Discrimination cases based on sex are brought forward time and time again in many countries.
How Our Company Bridged The Gender Gap
Despite the statistics and odds being against us as women, the company I work for managed to bridge the gender divide and create equal pay between men and women.
We currently have 22 females and 23 males working in our company, with more women in leadership positions. If we look at the pay between our male and female employees based in the UK, our female ninjas earn 61p more per hour.
Research by Moz indicates that although the number of women working in digital marketing is increasing, men are still the prevailing sex in this industry.
How did we become the anomaly in digital marketing?
- Remote Working: One of the reasons I love my job is that you can do it from anywhere. Our CEO learnt the hard way that an office environment can actually cause a lack of productivity amongst employees. As such, we are able to work from anywhere in the world.
- Flexible Hours: As we all work remotely, the hours are flexible to everybody’s schedule. This means that parents can do their school runs, make dinner and fit their work around home life. As long as you can hit deadlines, it doesn’t matter when you do the work or if you have children. It’s the quality of work which is important, not the hour at which you do it.
- Set Pay Scale: We have a pay scale in place for all job positions within the company. With a set pay scale, this means that nobody will be discriminated against based on gender when it comes to how much they earn.
How Can Businesses Create a Gender Equal Workforce?
It should be noted that if we include the CEO in our maths, men do get paid more than women at our company. How can we tackle this problem and what can businesses do to create a gender equal workplace?
- Women Should Start Their Own Businesses: The number of female CEOs in the 2016 Fortune 500 list dropped to 4%. As proven by our company, there are plenty of women with the right skills and attitudes to start their own digital marketing companies. As such, we need women to start their own businesses and balance the CEO divide.
- Apply for Higher Job Roles: Despite Hillary Clinton not becoming the first female president, she was the first woman to run. Theresa May put herself forward to become Prime Minister and succeeded. Women should not internalize sexism in the workplace by doubting their own abilities.
- Publish Salaries: Many companies are now being transparent with their pay scales and publishing salaries online for every potential candidate to see. In order to tackle the gender pay gap, the UK is making companies with more than 250 employees publish their pay to reveal the gender pay gap.
- Make it Easier for Mothers: As noted, maternity leave and rigid working hours for mothers can be problematic. Businesses who offer affordable child care services or parental leave could help this problem. It can encourage women to get back to work and receive the same pay as everyone else, without dropping hours.
- Flexible Working Hours: It has been successful for our company and has allowed both men and women to have a much better work-life balance. Giving women the option of flexible working means they can work full time at a time which suits them best.
- Ask for More Money: Many job salaries are negotiated and women shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more money. The Washington Post reported that women often feel relieved if the amount they ask for is accepted, while men feel regret that they could have asked for more. Be bold and ask for what you believe you deserve.
Unfortunately, it could still be a number of years before we see the gender pay gap eradicated. It’s the responsibility of businesses to be more transparent, flexible and open to new ways of ensuring that women are equal in the workplace.
Helen Anglin is an expert in digital PR outreach and works for the digital marketing company Exposure Ninja. Specialising in SEO, social media, web design and more, Exposure Ninja pride themselves on having a diverse team will all the right skills, no matter their gender!