Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of Emily Davison’s death, killed from injuries sustained while attempting to throw a suffragette banner over the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby. Ms Davison and her fellow campaigners’ efforts were not in vain, and great strides have been made since then in the fight for women’s rights, the events of the Ford sewing machinists’ strike in 1968 (fictionalised recently in the film Made in Dagenham) leading to the UK’s Equal Pay Act of 1970.
Despite this great progress, the gender gap is still very much a current issue. Only yesterday a report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, based on three years of research, was launched at lunchtime in Sydney. Its findings show that the gender pay gap has remained fairly stagnant over the last five years, and more than 50% of women surveyed feel they have been discriminated against. Employee-impact data also show current male dominance in the FTSE-100 companies in the UK.
From a business perspective, most are not in danger of being slapped with multi-million dollar lawsuits, but local anti-discrimination laws provide a potential mine-field. Frustratingly, discrimination is self-destructive for businesses because employees with great skill and talent can end up being side-lined.
It is well-worth ensuring that your own business is not implicit in such bias, however unintentional it may be. OrgVue provides a rapid way to visualise imbalances in your company within whatever categories you have records for, whether by gender, ethnicity, age or disability.
To pick a clear attribute to illustrate the rich analysis available, we will have a look at the breakdown of a mid-sized model company by gender. Welcome to New-Co – population 1,505. The first step is to look at the gender split of New-Co’s workforce, where we see that the company make-up is skewed towards men:
Of course, there are many possible reasons for this situation. We may assume New-Co’s line of business generally appeals more to men, and we shouldn’t read too much into this. However, we might raise a collective eyebrow when we see the salary distribution:
Now we know that the 62% strong male contingent takes home 68% of the bacon. Alarmingly, this means that, on average, men have a salary 30% higher than that of women. But wait! OrgVue is about to come into its own. A sunburst chart quickly shows the major contribution to this statistic; the most senior roles (with the largest salaries) are filled by men:
Now whether this apparent boys’ club has formed due to gender discrimination or not requires knowledge of employee history and recruitment data, which is a story for another day. But in order to identify real bias in salary levels we must ‘drill-down’ into the underlying data a little. If we look at salary by grade we obtain a more detailed understanding of New-Co’s gender gap:
Here we see that discrepancy in wages is not an issue in junior roles, but within more senior grades men are earning a great deal more than women. Of course, any statistician worth her salt will immediately point out that correlation does not imply causation! It certainly doesn’t rule it out, but there are several other considerations. Within the same grade, do men and women have the same experience and tenure? Do they work different hours? Does their performance differ?
With very little work we have already found out a lot about the composition of our company, and we are just getting started. But to really see whether New-Co is a model employer or whether there is cause for concern we must investigate further using the tools available to us in OrgVue, so stay tuned for the next blog post!