Why we need to go beyond the gender pay gap

Closing the gender pay gap is now on the agenda of most financial services firms in the UK.

This is a giant leap forward for both the industry and the advice profession, and is certainly an important metric on which to focus.

At Redington, we firmly believe a more diverse workforce makes more informed decisions, allows you to better represent and understand your clients and fosters innovation.

Yet the gender pay gap is only one of a range of diversity metrics needed to make a meaningful and lasting impact in financial services.

To achieve the diversity goals we’ve set ourselves, we’ve adopted a more multi-pronged approach.

We have always prided ourselves on our progressive and inclusive culture. So when we discovered our gender pay gap was 21.6 per cent in 2018, we knew we needed to re-evaluate our approach and take some bold steps to improve this.

As part of our approach to diversity, our co-founder Dawid Konotey-Ahulu regularly speaks about diversity in the sector through his work with The Diversity Project, and more broadly with his Talk About Black campaign.

Our chief executive Mitesh Sheth has always kept diversity and inclusion front and centre.

This is demonstrated in his commitment to social mobility with support from our partnership with Investment 20/20 and other academies, from which we recruit entry level employees and apprentices.

He has also sought to improve gender diversity at more senior levels of the organisation by running a returnship program and committing to hiring returners.

A ‘no targets’ approach

During the course of Mitesh’s tenure as chief executive, our gender pay gap (which is defined as the percentage difference between the average hourly earnings of male and female employees) has gone from 22.8 per cent in May 2016 to 2.2 per cent in 2019.  

The firm falls beneath the required threshold for mandatory reporting, however we have voluntarily reported our gender pay gap figures since we began measuring against this metric in 2018.

Our projected gender pay gap for 2020 is -0.8 per cent.

However, we don’t target a 0 per cent gender pay gap and don’t have defined key performance indicators here. We also acknowledge there will be variation each year.

Metrics can be tricky, so we’ve adopted an approach that’s less about measurement and more about seeing this as something we’ll always need to commit to prioritising.

The same goes for ethnicity pay gap reporting. Ultimately, we need to be constantly vigilant to make sure we are paying our people fairly for the work they do.

What we’re most interested in is creating an environment that really fosters diversity and inclusion. We believe if we get that right, the gender pay gap will look after itself.

Addressing the challenges

We set out to overhaul our whole approach from the bottom up.

This started with recruitment and making sure we are offering women and other under-represented groups with the opportunity to apply for all roles, from the most junior to the most senior.

To achieve this, we hired an in-house recruiter.

This person is integrated into our people team and culture and understands our company from the inside out.

This includes our strong desire to include a range of candidates for each search we carry out, as well as our pay, promotion and bonus process and other people team functions.  

We also work with a number of fantastic organisations that allow us access to candidates we wouldn’t otherwise be likely to reach. 

To source apprenticeship candidates, we work with Investment 20/20 and Leadership through Sport and Business.

Both organisations source diverse candidates and support them in achieving roles in the investment management sector and financial services more broadly.

They also offer candidates support in being successful long-term in the roles they land.

For experienced hires, we work with The Return Hub.

The Return Hub helps predominantly women, but also men, to return to work in the financial sector after a career break.

In 2018, we expanded our definition of ‘returner’ to include individuals returning to work after military service and retirees who’ve decided to return to the workplace.

A work in progress

It’s important to note we’re still experimenting and learning from our recruitment efforts.

While we’ve had some great successes, we have also struggled to find diverse candidates, particularly in the military and retiree candidate pools mentioned above.

It is also important to us that this isn’t about box-ticking. All our diversity recruitment efforts will only matter if retention is treated as an equal priority. 

We look to provide an environment that’s as supportive as it can be. It’s about employees feeling secure in voicing their views, no matter how different, rather than implementing quotas to look good to the outside world.

One way do this is through our diversity committee, which is made up of people who not only are dedicated to this vision but who themselves vary greatly in terms of socio-economic, age, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and religious backgrounds.

Another way is through our approach to pay and performance.

Our remuneration committee reviews each staff member’s recommended pay increases and/or promotions to eliminate any unconscious bias in our reward process.

A further review is done at the end of the process to review recommendations by level, department, gender and ethnicity to further avoid any bias.

Flexible working is highly prized by employees at Redington, with many staff members taking advantage of formal flexible working arrangements and many more doing so on an ad hoc basis.

In order to offer this, we continue to invest in technology to allow employees to be as productive remotely as they can be on-site. 

Our flexible benefits platform further fosters diversity and inclusion, with a revamped shared parental leave policy and paid time off benefits available to all staff in order to help them with their commitments outside of work or for family.

While some of these efforts have helped us close the gender pay gap specifically, this wasn’t what we set out to do from the start. 

Our main aim has been to create true diversity and inclusion within the firm, which it’s important to clarify is a constantly evolving work in progress.

While we may never achieve perfection, we believe the best way to achieve diversity is to make sure it’s at the core of everything we do.

We believe that sharing what we’ve learned, not only the great examples but the failures too, will help all of us make the much-needed progress.

Ultimately, we are driven by our purpose to help make 100 million people financially secure. That’s 100 million different people.

We know that diversity wins, and if we’re going to accomplish our 100 million goal, we must make sure we reach far and wide, and that we ourselves represent this diversity. 

Originally featured on illuminate: https://illuminate.nucleusfinancial.com/blog/need-go-beyond-gender-pay-gap

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