Tracking gender pay gap with payroll reporting

July 8, 2021 | David Daly 5 Mins read

Corporate reporting is a broad and varied topic at multinational organizations around the world. Multiple departments at an organization will always have a need to create a range of different reports to track activity, monitor performance and deliver valuable insight to leadership teams, the C-Suite executive team and the board of directors.

Both the human resources team and global payroll department generate several different reports in order to effectively track and monitor the activity happening within their departments. But the demand for reporting has changed over the years and is now much more nuanced and detailed. The demand is also driven by a need to show transparency and a willingness to respond to a very public narrative around equality and the gender pay gap.

In this article, we will examine how global organizations can leverage technology to ensure that their global payroll reporting is in a position to contribute to any insight and analysis around gender pay gaps and pay equity within a multinational company.

A progressive attitude towards gender pay gap

Multinational organizations have a responsibility to their globally dispersed workforce, their customers and their suppliers to behave in an ethical manner at all times.  If changes in society or strong public narratives around gender equality create an opportunity for companies to deliver positive change, then there should be a strong willingness at leadership level to embrace such change and make forward, progressive steps.

Correcting any gender pay gap imbalances or pay disparities would be a significant step forward at any organization. For a company to be in a position to address a gender pay gap, they must first acquire all the necessary data available on equal pay in the company. Step one is always the collection of data that reveals where you are in the here and now on the gender wage gap, while step two is all about your response to the data and any differentials. If you are unable to complete step one, then you have a significant problem to overcome.

A progressive attitude towards gender pay gap or pay discrimination is not about public relations or optics-it is much more about a commitment to the values you wish to instill across an organization and what you want to stand for as a company in relation to gender equality.

Prioritizing gender pay gap reporting is one way to offer some concrete evidence that this is an issue you are taking seriously via proactive steps with reporting, insight and analysis.

Reporting technology is needed

As stated above, progress cannot be made unless you first have clear reporting  and transparent facts on any pay disparities within the labor force. The reality is that many organizations today wish to make genuinely progressive steps in the area of gender pay gap but simply lack the technology to give them a very clear insight into how things currently stand at their organization.

Global payroll reporting can help- if the global payroll function is delivered via a cloud deployed technology stack that features innovative and detailed reporting tools, then there is scope to use these tools to drill down and create specific pay related reports that can be filtered via employee, job title and specific pay data elements. It is possible to use reporting for a pay audit and create a pay gap report.

These are the kind of reports that leadership teams need to see to assess where things stand right now and what are the kind of steps they can make to address any obvious imbalance or pay inequity when it comes to gender pay gap.

But technology is needed first to extract the data and convert it into a digestible and easily understood format, a format that lends itself to straightforward analysis and direct conclusions. Global payroll data contains huge amounts of vitally important company information relating to how much employees are paid and where pay rates differ across countries, regions, roles and gender. This data can be complex and high volume, it can also be held in multiple disparate systems or spreadsheets, making it difficult for global payroll professionals to consolidate it or filter down into specific details.

A global payroll technology stack designed specifically for the management and delivery of global payroll will be of a major assistance here as it can be leveraged to extract crucial payroll data and display it in a range of different reports that provide valuable and easily understood facts and insight around pay practices.

Response to equal pay legislation

Gender pay disparities have always existed and a need for accountability and a full review of how and why this is happening is long overdue. Some organizations are willing to be proactive and work on their reporting to ensure they are in possession of the full facts before making decisions on pay differences

Other organizations are perhaps taking a more relaxed attitude towards this, but it seems that government legislation is about to catch up with them and now there is a growing need to create gender pay equality policies in response to government legislation on equal pay.

Time is running out then for organizations who, due to a lack of reporting technology or IT infrastructure, are not fully aware or do not have access to the gender pay gap metrics and reporting they need. This is quickly moving from a nice to have towards a mandatory obligation, and we are getting closer to the day when many organizations will need to prove that they’re meeting specific legislation when it comes to their obligations around gender pay equality.

In many countries, there is already some legislation in place which requires companies to publish data on the salary and bonuses of male and female employees within the company- the Nordic nations appeared to be leading the way in this regard and it is mandatory in the UK. Those without sufficient reporting to help them get organized on this subject are already behind the curve and need to get moving. Also, it may be mandatory legislation in countries where global employers are planning to expand into, so this is another important consideration. Spain and France for example, have introduced legislation where gender pay gap reporting is mandatory if an organization reaches a specific size.

Leverage the payroll team

Gender pay reporting can display the difference in the average earnings of men and women across an organization. Specific global payroll reporting tools can also be used to drill down further by job title for example, to display women’s representation at the more senior levels inside an organization structure.

The C-suite leadership team can look at ways to leverage global payroll professionals and the tools they use within their department. The data is there, and it has a lot to say if it is released in the right way via agile and responsive technology.

The global payroll team can be viewed as a useful ally and strategic partner in the progression of the gender wage gap policies within an organization. Equipped with the right tools, this team can deliver consistent and transparent reporting that can reveal progressive positive change if this is what has happened.

The payroll team can respond to different requests for reporting on a periodic or ad hoc basis that gives leadership teams a strong understanding and oversight of where they stand on the issue of any gender pay gap within the organization. Once in receipt of transparent and easily understood data that has been checked and verified, the leadership team can then create a plan and road map around how to address any imbalance that the data shows.

Detailed and accurate gender pay gap reporting delivered via global payroll technology can help organizations understand where gender pay gaps exist and why. There is growing interest among global employees, customers and investors for access to this data as well as the leadership team’s response to it.  Gender pay gap reporting immediately increases transparency and removes any complacency around the important subject of gender equality.

Of course, gender pay gap reporting may reveal some uncomfortable and inconvenient gender equality truths for many organizations, but this reporting can also be the catalyst for change and enable leadership teams to identify issues and respond to them in an appropriate and progressive manner.


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