We are delighted that the theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is “#BalanceForBetter”. Closing the gender pay gap is long overdue. May this be the “Time’s up” moment for this injustice.
We hailed the introduction of gender pay reporting as a progressive initiative. While we firmly believe that transparent insight is required for managers to make any improvements in an organisation (“You can’t manage what you can’t measure”), the way that the gender pay gap figures are currently compiled is all too crude, leading to inaccurate insights. Gender pay gap reporting requires organisations (of 250+ staff) to state the difference in pay between male and female employees. This is overly simplistic as it would only offer a fair comparison if there were the same number of men and women working in ‘equivalent’ functions, and delivering their duties at ‘equivalent’ levels of performance. (‘Equivalent’ is problematic concept, to be addressed shortly). While a picture of equal numbers of men and women homogeneously strewn throughout a company may be the ideal, we must first work towards that ideal, using fair statistics to measure our progress. The figures that must be reported by UK law currently give a blurred picture of the present situation, merging together pay disparity for equivalent roles with gender imbalance at each level of an organisation. I.e. if women are paid less than men in a particular company, stating the precise difference in pay doesn’t tell us the extent of the difference for doing a particular role, or the the extent to which women are underrepresented in more senior roles.
It’s tricky to quantify the first of these factors; equivalent roles. We all know that job titles are arbitrary to some degree and don’t reveal the demands of a role or how well they are being met. In some cases, it is transparent that equivalent roles are performed to varying degrees of success, e.g. some Account Managers generating higher sales than others. But this example of generating sales is one of a minority of roles whereby the value that staff deliver to a company can be quantified.
The twin issues here - how to compare employees rationally, and valuing such an exercise in order to treat those employees fairly (measure so that you can manage) - are central to the purpose of BlueOptima.
We enable managers to understand the different levels of performance for software developers. Much like the example of sales, the anatomy of the team includes those experienced members who support newer staff who have room to learn and improve the value they offer. Salespeople’s performance is measurable because sales can be quantified monetarily. BlueOptima uses the measure of Hours of Actual Coding Effort. Our software platform assesses and displays software development work in terms of this unit. One application of this insight is to compare employee pay for equivalent levels of performance, towards the important end of #BalanceForBetter. Fair treatment of employees is in itself an ethical matter, but showing employees that they are treated fairly - based on objective metrics, such that BlueOptima provides - is fundamental to staff continuing to work happily and well.
1. Comparison between genders being mean, meridian and proportion for both pay and bonuses: "Gender pay gap reporting requires organisations (of 250+ staff) to state the difference in pay between male and female employees"