Equal Pay Day: What role does L&D play?

by L&D08 Sep 2016
In addition to being R U OK Day, today is also Equal Pay Day.   
 
Equal Pay Day is a chance to think about how much progress we are making to correct the income disparity that exists between men and women.
 
It is also important to focus on what more needs to be done to fix this injustice.
 
In order to make this objective a reality, the Federal Government has announced that they are following a number of initiatives involving L&D.
 
This includes partnering with UnitingCare on the Springboard Project so women have the opportunity to train and build a career in the UnitingCare network.
 
They are also focusing on making sure women have the skills and support to work in growth industries, with $13 million invested through the National Innovation and Science Agenda in getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths.
 
Another priority is setting a new target of men and women each holding 50% of Australian Government board positions and strengthening the BoardLinks program and scholarship and mentoring programs, improving gender diversity in senior leadership roles.
 
Moreover, they are forging partnerships with the Australian Mines and Metals Association and the Australian Institute of Company Directors to provide scholarships and mentoring opportunities.
 
In recent years, there has been some progress in terms of the gender pay gap and women’s workforce participation. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the gender pay gap has narrowed from 18.5% in November 2014 to 16.2% today.
 
“While this is a promising improvement, we have a long way to go - further progress will bring great benefits to both our society and our economy,” said the Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.
 
“It is particularly heartening that the latest labour force statistics show female employment levels are at an all-time high, with more Australian women in employment than ever before.”
 
It’s also an important day for businesses to have internal audits of employee’s remuneration to ensure there are no instances of income disparities between men and women undertaking the same duties, Cash added.
 
“We also need to address unconscious bias which impacts on gender participation,” she said.
 
“Businesses should have a clear picture of how their employees are remunerated to ensure they are not unknowingly contributing to the gender pay gap.”
 
Moreover, ManpowerGroup issued a report late last year which provided the following advice to business leaders and HR professionals to support female leadership:

1. The CEO and C-suite must own change: Make leaders accountable for change and help them create a plan for change.
2. Promote a culture of conscious inclusion, rather than just focusing on more programs.
3. Give employees the flexibility to do their job when and where it suits them, and value outcomes, not presentism.
4. Ensure there are enough women in the succession plan: Ensure women are represented in the leadership pipeline across all business units. Start by challenging people by asking “why not, and what can we do to make it work?”
5. Be accountable, set measurable outcomes: Work with the leadership team to create strategic plan that outlines how the organisation will change, and by when.

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