Women who feel valued at work will help close the gender pay gap

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Gender pay gapThere has been much debate around the gender pay gap but aside from any instances of obvious gender discrimination is the controversial fact that women appear to be more afraid of asking for a pay rise than men. According to a recent survey by Randstad 72 per cent of women are afraid even to ask for a raise for fear of jeopardising their existing position. This clearly shows there is work still to be done to encourage women to ‘lean in’. When people start questioning the value they bring to a company they are less likely to put themselves in the spotlight, or under scrutiny, by asking for a raise or a promotion, and the key to increasing confidence is by getting genuine feedback on work performance. If you know that your work is getting recognised by colleagues and you are being praised for it, then you are more likely to understand the value of the work you are doing, regardless of what industry you are in.

As well as receiving feedback and praise on work, another way to improve confidence is to mentor a junior member. Knowing that they are learning from you helps to understand how complex the job is, or how much it has changed since you started it. This is a great way to see how much you have already progressed; a great confidence booster for understanding your worth.

The finance industry, which is often viewed as a male-dominated profession, has traditionally been one of the worst sectors for promoting equal pay. Current statistics show that this is still the case, with almost three quarters of men asked believing that they are paid more than women. Even more worrying is that 18 percent of workers in this industry believe that equal pay will never be achieved. Yet companies that do promote women and actively help them progress are giving themselves access to a greater pool of talent, which is crucial for making the most of the workforce and boosting growth.

Further research from Randstad has also shown that poor work-life balance is one of the top five reasons behind workers choosing to change employer – contributing to just under a quarter (22 percent) of job moves. When looking for a new employer, a good work-life balance was cited as a top five factor for 45 percent of workers in 2015 – compared to 39 percent in 2012. This is often a major issue for women with families who not only want to ensure they’re been treated equally in terms of pay, but that they are offered the flexibility to do a good job and be with their families.

This is why some of our most highly regarded employers – such as John Lewis and British Airways – already recognize and cater for the growing trend to flexible working. They have built their enviable reputations as great employers, because they make it easy for their workers to make the best use of their time. This also helps to make their workforces more efficient and productive, which drives forward economic growth.

By ensuring that the workforce is equal, both in terms of diversity and the pay gap, you are more likely to get the most out of your employees. With this structure, workers will therefore feel more valued and more confident in their roles and, as a consequence, are more likely to feel comfortable asking for a pay rise. This also encourages people to work harder with a vision to progress, instead of working just as hard as someone who gets paid more for the same job.

It is deflating and demoralising to put in more time than someone else and not receive the same reward as they do, so having a pay structure in place for each role is a great way to encourage everyone to do their best.

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Mark Bull_Randstad (2)Mark Bull is the Chief Executive Officer at global recruiter Randstad

www.randstad.co.uk