Mind the Gender Pay Gap – the Important Role of Recruitment Firms
The corporate world offers great career opportunities to millions of young people joining the workforce every year. It’s a chance for them to gain financial independence and learn dozens of basic skills that will help them throughout their careers. But for every great opportunity, there are challenges to overcome. And in many cases, these hurdles are unfair and discriminatory. For example, millions of women face the glass ceiling, an invisible barrier to career advancement, or a very visible gender pay gap, which is the subject of this article.
The gender pay gap
The gender pay gap has existed ever since the salary data first started to be compiled. Change is happening but it is extremely slow and entire generations of young girls and hard-working women have faced discrimination. The European Union is still struggling to achieve gender parity in the workplace, according to data compiled by Eurostat.
The fact that the gap exists is well-documented. However, it is the methods employed to bridge the gap which is now clearly understood to be not nearly as effective as first imagined. The key stakeholders, namely employers, employees, governments, industry and recruitment firms all have an important role to play here.
Bridging the gap
To address an issue, it’s important to examine the full extent of the problem.
Regular audits –
Firstly, it is clear that companies must conduct regular audits to assess a gender pay gap within their ranks and that this figure should then be tracked for changes year on year.
Long-term goals –
The second step is to set long-term goals and short-term milestones to eliminate a pay gap. These goals and milestones must form part of Key Performance Indicators for senior management as well as for the HR department. Companies have the ability to solve major problems, but it is up to senior management to put the right incentives in place to achieve these goals.
Transparent progress –
The final step is to make such information transparent and share progress during regular company meetings including, importantly, those with shareholders.
Salary negotiations –
A lot can be done on an individual basis. Women must ensure they are not being discriminated against during salary negotiations and present their case where necessary – some companies and organisations run workshops.
Recruitment industry –
Recruitment firms can play a positive role by advising prospective candidates during salary negotiations.
Studies have shown that companies with a healthy ratio of women executives are more profitable. Recruitment firms play a key role in matching candidates to their ideal roles. Therefore, although it is ultimately up to the company to make the hiring decision, recruitment firms must have a large enough pool of qualified workers of both genders and pitch all candidates without bias or discrimination. Recruitment firms also need to ensure women are empowered to apply for a role to which they are suited to rather than falling prey to stereotypical career choices.
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