Gender pay gap reporting – what’s your narrative?

Written by Sarah Park, Head of Built Environment. 

Gender Pay Gap Reporting couldn’t come at a more relevant time. We’ve just celebrated 100 years of suffrage and gender has been one of the major news themes and a subject of widespread commentary so far in 2018. From a strategic communications point of view it has been interesting to listen to the varied reasoning for a disparity in pay, from gender-make up to ‘accumulation of experience’  to those whose reporting is downright ‘statistically improbable.’

The widespread interest in the debate will make the April 18 reporting deadline a media and cultural milestone, when gender pay gap stats and figures from companies with over 250 employees will be in the public domain. The data will fuel the debate about equality and fairness and companies and brands will be held to account.

Alongside reports, companies will need to provide a narrative; to create statements and offer clarification that articulates disparities and sets their data within a truthful context; they need to know how to communicate the final report to their employees, their clients and yes, to the media if and when the media starts to scrutinise. As social media conversations span thousands of networks and followers in a second, it is important to have a strategy that will stimulate some control of the messages going out. Most business care what people think about them, it’s called reputation, and many fear the repercussions of their imminent Pay Gap Reporting.     

It’s at this point we could simply shrug and say ‘so they should.’ As a woman I have a vested interest in the topic of equal pay.

What is interesting about the role of strategic communications today is narrative is no longer a well spun story or a thin veil aimed to distort the truth. Today’s communication strategies are the result of long conversations about what is fair, what is right and what we can do to make a difference in the future. Today’s communication strategies are impactful because they are a catalyst for business change. This is why the role communications is so often, and rightly so, part of the board level discussion and an integral element to the success, or failure, of a business or brand.

The decisions made in the past about equal pay are in the past, today we can all be held to account to deliver what we say we will deliver. If a business creates its Gender Pay Gap narrative with an assurance to implement changes about how it intends to conduct business in the future, then they will need to do so, communications is no longer simply about words but about action. 

Madano helps clients define strategy and deliver their objectives through insight, creativity and communication.