What are international brands doing to tackle the Gender Gap?

As the Gender Gap persists, governments around the world have began introducing legislation to tackle gender diversity while companies are focusing time and money on improving diversity in the workplace.

A responsibility lies with employers to contribute to closing the Gender Gap in the workplace and offering equal opportunities based on skills and talent rather than gender.

In fact, according to Cpl’s Q3 Employment Monitor report, employers believe that three times as much responsibility lies with companies, rather than the government to close the Gender Gap in Ireland.

With the current polarised social climate and movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, the pressure from the public to take action and review pay policies is higher than ever.

Looking at the statistics, it’s evident that Ireland has a lot of work to do catch up with its European counterparts, but there are lessons Irish businesses can learn from international brands that are already setting the standard for companies across the globe.

Here are some inspirational examples of how international organisations are tackling the Gender Gap.

Starbucks banned the ‘current salary’ question

Starbucks achieved 100% gender pay parity in 2018 for all employees in similar roles and the company is encouraging its corporate partners to do the same. It has done this by banning the ‘current salary’ question from hiring practices because the company wants to avoid importing gender pay inequity into its culture.

starbucks gender pay gap

Starbucks will also be working with equal rights champion and tennis icon Billie Jean King to encourage multinational companies to achieve global gender pay equity – with the support of leading national women’s organizations, the National Partnership for Women & Families (National Partnership) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

“I’ve been pushing for equality for as long as I can remember, and my hope is that one day, true pay equity will be achieved,” King said. “There are a few voices who have been at the forefront of this effort and I hope many will join them to press for greater progress.”

Salesforce raise women’s salaries to narrow the gap

When Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was approached by the HR department chief Cindy Robbins outlining that the company may have a problem with unequal pay, he was in disbelief, according to an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS.

“It’s impossible because we have a great culture here. We’re a ‘best place to work.’ And we don’t do that kinda thing. We don’t play shenanigans paying people – paying people unequally. It’s unheard of. It’s crazy.”

An audit was carried out to get an overview of the situation. The results showed a persistent pay gap between women and men doing the same job. The company then decided to review employee compensation to ensure that no gaps existed. As a result, Salesforce spent around $3 million to raise women’s salaries to be equal to men’s.

They also plan to standardise the process for setting salaries so that new hires are at parity from day one. Benioff has also focused on visibility within the organisation: he has refused to hold any meetings unless 30% of those participating were women.

“We saw in our company a lot of meetings where there were just men. Like, we would have a meeting and I would look around the room and I’m, like, “This meeting is just men. Something is not right.”

LinkedIn launch Returnin pilot for returning workers

According to the most recent Central Statistics Office numbers, there are just over 195,000 carers in Ireland, with female carers compromising over 60% of the total. LinkedIn plans to tap into that potential talent.

The Dublin HQ has launched ReturnIn, a pilot programme which helps people re-enter the workforce after a career break. Participants receive training, onboarding and mentoring to ensure a smooth transition back into working life.

Sharon McCooey, Head of LinkedIn Ireland, has said that “I see a pool of talent out there that don’t know how to get back into the workplace and I really see this as a way of developing talent.”

L’Oreal hold itself to account for gender equality and increase female representation

When discussing international companies and the gender gap, it’s inevitable that L’Oreal will crop up. In fact, they were ranked #1 in Equileap’s 2017 Global Gender Equality Ranking.

Many organisations pride themselves on their ability to choose the right candidate based on merit. However, MIT has found that meritocratic principles often favour men over ‘equally performing women’.

L’Oreal has implemented a certification process with third-party organisations to validate its policies, promotions and pay to hold itself to account by the wider marketplace and not just its own interpretation of success.

They even post the female representation figures online. Over the past 20 years, female board membership has increased to 46%.

Atlassian remove gender bias from their interview process

Sortware company Atlassian’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Aubrey Blanche, worked on removing bias from the company’s candidate evaluation process. They tweaked a few aspects and were able to increase the female representation of their intern class to 44%.

They also standardised interview questions and structures, ensured that hiring panels were gender-diverse, and trained all their employees in unconscious bias.

This training focused on dispelling myths like ‘women aren’t interested in technology’. They switched ‘culture fit’ to ‘values fit’ – so that the focus was on hiring people who shared their goals, and not necessarily those who had the same viewpoints or background.

“It’s important that we’re not only increasing the representation of folks at Atlassian, but that they’re having an incredible experience while they’re here,” said Blanche.

Tackling the Gender Gap in Ireland

The Irish government is set to make gender pay gap reporting mandatory for all companies, following in the steps of the UK which did the same in 2017.

While 50% of companies support the Government’s proposed regulation, and some companies such as Wolfgang Digital have already began reporting on their gender pay gap figures, 70% of companies haven’t even begun to examine their own gender pay gaps.

Companies need to accept some of the responsibility for underwhelming female participation, pay discrepancies between genders and start paving the way for positive change. Ultimately, it comes down to helping all people bring their best selves to work – not just women.

If you need advice on how to prepare for the gender gap legislation get in touch with one of our Future of Work specialists, or download our free whitepaper: ‘The Gender Gap: Why is it happening and what can we do about it?