Advice

Fixer: I think our gender pay gap figures are wrong. Should I speak up?

20 Feb 2020 By PM Editorial

The data is questionable, but nobody will take my side if I say anything

I joined my current firm as an HR manager around the middle of last year so this is the first round of gender pay gap reporting I’ve been involved with for this business. But as we’ve been getting our data ready for this year’s reporting deadline, I’ve become really uncomfortable with some of the methods used to calculate our gap. I’m not convinced my seniors understand their own data, and digging back into last year’s I’m not sure the figures we published then were correct. But I know if I raise this I’ll be really unpopular.

Gender pay gap reporting can seem like one of the many relatively laborious tasks HR performs – unless we remind ourselves, on a timely basis, of why we’re doing this. There’s a very real business and ethical case for collating these figures. Not only do you need to ensure your organisation is compliant with gender discrimination legislation and guidelines, but your senior leaders presumably want to ensure your reward package is suitably attractive to a diverse workforce, and is transparent and fair. In short, you simply can’t afford for there to be mistakes in how the data is collected, collated and communicated. 

Your job is to play a leading role in the process and bring in best practice from elsewhere. Try picking off the rest of the team leading the project to attempt to influence them, which will avoid a ‘showdown’ with the team as a whole. Give them the chance to save face, if you can. 

But however unpopular it may be, if you have genuine doubts about the process, don’t paper over the cracks. Be mindful of how you feed back, but make sure you act.

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