Gender paygap in business can be closed – study

Canadian-based research finds equality, gender pay gap needs culture change in order to narrow

A recently released study has identified a number of factors that are creating a culture of equality in the workplace.

The study called Getting to Equal 2018 — done by Accenture — was published earlier this month and showed there are 14 major factors out of 40 overall that businesses can follow to close the gap on pay and promotions between men and women.

“Culture is set from the top, so if women are to advance, gender equality must be a strategic priority for the C-suite,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer in a release.

“It’s critical that companies create a truly human environment where people can be successful both professionally and personally — where they can be who they are and feel they belong, every day.”

The findings were based on a worldwide survey of more than 22,000 workers, including more than 700 Canadians, that measured the perception of workplace factors that contribute to the culture where the people work. It was supplemented by interviews and analysis of previously published workforce issues data.

Among the largest factors found in companies where everyone benefits were: employees are satisfied with their career progression (100 per cent); employees aspire to get promoted (96); and, aspire to become senior leaders in their organizations (95).

Meanwhile, the survey also found 38 per cent of women are more likely to advance to manager or above and five times as likely to advance to senior manager or above, compared to men at 29 per cent and two times as likely to rise to the senior level of management.

“Our research shows that in companies with cultures that include the workplace factors that help women advance, men thrive too, and we all rise together,” said Claudia Thompson, managing director for Health and Public Service and lead for inclusion and diversity in Canada.

“We see this research as a powerful reminder that building a culture of equality is essential to achieving gender equality because people, not programs, are what make a company inclusive and diverse.”

In addition, the study found that for every 100 male managers, there could be as many as 94 female managers and that women’s pay could increase 39 per cent, to an additional USD $26,627 per year.

The report builds on a 2017 research study into closing the gender workplace gap through digital and technological influences which noted there are three key Canadian findings:

Bold leadership: Women are more likely to be on the fast track in organizations where leadership teams are held accountable, both internally and externally, for improving gender diversity (58 percent compared to 39 percent).

Comprehensive action: Involvement in a women’s network correlates with women’s advancement, but nearly two-in-three (65 percent) women surveyed for the report work for organizations without such a network. In companies that have a women’s network, 86 percent of women participate, with three-quarters (76 percent) of those women in a women’s network that also includes men.

An empowering environment: Among the factors linked to advancement are not asking employees to conform to a dress or appearance code, and giving employees the responsibility and freedom to be innovative and creative.

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