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Pay gap reporting and flexible working key to gender equality

A recent survey asked people what they think are the best ways to support gender equality in the workplace

Workers see transparency around the gender pay gap and increased flexible working opportunities as key to improving gender equality in the workplace, according to research from JLT.

Of the 119 members of the public who responded to the survey, more than a quarter (28%) believed gender pay gap reporting will help most in achieving gender equality at work. A further quarter (23%) thought flexible working the best driver of equality.

However, less than one in five (17%) saw boardroom quotas as the most powerful step for helping women at work, and only 12% cited greater maternity rights.

The lowest number of votes in the survey was for designated female mentoring programmes (which attracted only 6% of the votes) and organised female networks (at 2%).

Ellie Mickleburgh, director of marketing for JLT, said employers need to look at going beyond steps legislated by the government.

“It’s interesting that transparency around the gender pay gap and flexible working were the top two issues people believe will bring improved gender equality in the workplace, as these are already being addressed through legislation,” she said. “It’s clear that the government is taking action to tackle this issue, but employers also need to look at how they can address this problem and remember that a voluntary approach is better than regulation.

“Listening to employees, introducing initiatives to promote equal opportunities, measuring performance, and reporting gender-related issues at board level are good ways for employers to start addressing the issue. Businesses have already done a lot to address gender equality in the last decade, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Additional research from job search engine Adzuna found that while men and women are equally likely to expect a pay rise this year, men were almost twice as likely to be aiming for a promotion as well.

The survey of 700 passive and active UK jobseekers found that 14% of both men and women were planning to ask for a pay rise this year, but 37.6% of men also planned to ask for a promotion compared with just 25.3% of women.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, suggested women need to “raise their expectations".

“A gender divide seems to be alive and well, according to this study,” he said. “Although equal numbers of men and women planned to pick up a pay rise this year, far more men than women also hankered after a promotion. There may be some unrealistic male bravado here, but women also need to raise their expectations (and employers to promote them) if we are to see more equality in senior positions.”