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by Robin Grainger 26th April, 2018

SMEs must embrace diversity: why I’m publishing our gender pay gap figures

Earlier this month companies with 250 or more employees had to publish data on their gender pay gap for the first time ever, as part of the Equality Act introduced back in 2010.

The move is undoubtedly progressive – it is the only such legislative measure anywhere in the world – but the results were less encouraging, with almost three-quarters of companies and public-sector organisations paying men more than women, and the average gap of those reported being 8.2%.

Whilst the gender pay gap is moving in the right direction, it is not closing very quickly – in 2016 the estimated figure was 9.4% meaning we have only moved the dial 1% point in the last two years.

At GK and our sister agency onefourzero we have always had gender equality at our heart. Back in 2010 when we were trying to build the business, our first full-time hire was a woman and I am proud that today over 60% of the senior team here are women.

Even now, making that first hire still feels like one of the biggest decisions I have made in ten years of running this company. Taking on the risk of a salary and handing over responsibility for our business to someone we didn’t know was a big step, and picking the right person was vital. Their gender never came into it.

Through the nature of our work, both GK and onefourzero are privileged to work across several different industries at once – we work in the worlds of strategic communications, due diligence, and digital, whilst at the same time working extensively with the investment community. We have a huge healthcare business and have clients in a huge range of other industries.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen gender pay gap reporting from all of these sectors and it’s not always been pretty reading, even in areas such as public health where you might have thought there would be a positive story to tell.

At coming up to 40 staff, GK and onefourzero are below the declaration requirements covered by the legislation, but that shouldn’t exclude us from supporting equal pay, particularly when we say we have a proud tradition of women in leadership positions.

Which led me to ask our Finance Director to check that our own house was in order.

Under the required government measures, the gender pay gap at GK and onefourzero favours women in almost every measure (full data at the bottom of this article) and our headline figure is

-16.1%, putting us amongst the 15% of companies in the UK that pay their female staff more on average.

I am incredibly proud of this record, but it is important to stress that this has happened organically and has been driven by the excellent women who I have the privilege of working with every day. Gender has never been a consideration in recruitment, promotion or advancement at GK, we have simply looked for people with the right skills and the right attitude to succeed.

It is also about creating the right environment for people to flourish irrespective of their gender. We do that here by creating a flexible working environment, a supportive culture and investing a lot in our team so they grow with us and want to stay here.

Whilst the government has only required large employers and the public sector to publish these figures, SMEs have a crucial role to play in achieving equal pay. 60% of all private sector employees in the UK work for SMEs, with those businesses accounting for 51% of all private sector turnover.

Whilst national attitudinal changes should help achieve change for people in these businesses, small business owners themselves must step up to the plate and be counted.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but businesses are stronger and will deliver more effectively for their clients the more they embrace diversity in all its forms and recognise the value diversity can bring to decision making. Research shows that gender diversity on an executive team drives commercial performance and no business should overlook the value new perspectives can bring.

I am incredibly proud of the important role women play in both GK and onefourzero and the role they have played to get us to where we are today.

We will continue to strive to be a business that champions diversity and rewards talent for talent’s sake, and I commit to publishing our gender pay gap information going forward to play our part in achieving wider societal change.

The more we can unlock the potential of everyone, the more we will all succeed.

GK Strategy and onefourzero Gender Pay Gap Reporting – April 2018

Gender pay gap figures specified by the government requirements:

· Mean gender pay gap in hourly pay: -16.1%

· Median gender pay gap in hourly pay: -22.2%

· Mean bonus gender pay gap: -10.8%

· Median bonus gender pay gap: -93.3%

· Proportion of males and females receiving a bonus payment: Males 71.4% / Females 86.7%

· Proportion of males and females in each pay quartile:

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