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Our Founder & Director, Jo Field, has written a blog for Equal Pay Day.

Three things employers can do to improve workforce diversity and close the Gender Pay Gap 

Today is Equal Pay Day - which means women work for free from now until the start of 2017.

This is caused by the Gender Pay Gap, which sees women earning less, on average, than their male colleagues.

According to the Fawcett Society, the current overall Gender Pay Gap for full-time workers is 13.9%.

The organisation says the gap is caused by several factors, including: discrimination; the under-valuing of jobs predominantly done by women; men continuing to hold the best-paid, most senior jobs; and women having more caring responsibilities for children and older relatives.

Breaking down stereotypes and improving workforce diversity

It’s a well-known fact that women are severely under-represented in certain sectors such as transport and engineering: recent EU data shows just 22% of UK transport jobs are held by women.

This has to improve and the Gender Pay Gap has to be closed. But how? I believe that to achieve better parity and equal pay, we need to break down gender stereotypes and improve workforce diversity - in all sectors. 

We know that gender stereotypes are established at an early age and have a huge impact on children and young people. 

Just recently, my four year old son was chatting about the ‘men’ digging up the road. When I suggested there might be women there too, he said: No mummy, women don’t do those jobs.”

My son doesn’t get these assumptions from me - children form their views based on what they see in the world around them. If my son, and his female friends, don’t see women digging up the road, then they will assume this job is not for women. For young people, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

We all have to do what we can to break down stereotypes and challenge assumptions about what are seen as ‘traditional’ male or female jobs.  We each have a responsibility to work towards equality and fairness in any way we can.

Three things employers can do:

Many businesses in the transport industry really want to achieve a more diverse workforce, but simply don’t know where to start. JFG Communications can help by creating and advising on initiatives to help companies achieve their diversity objectives.

Here are three things employers can do to help improve workforce diversity and attract and retain women at all levels:

  1. Profile women doing all jobs at all levels in the company. This will provide young people with visible role models and inspire them to consider careers in the sector.
  2. Set up peer mentoring and support schemes for parents. This could include toolkits for employees and managers on how to manage pregnancy, maternity, paternity and shared parental leave. This will help people deal with the massive change in their lives when they become parents and help women return to work after maternity leave. 
  3. Be aware of unconscious bias and the impact it can have. An example would be assuming a woman who has just returned from maternity leave won’t have the time to take on a challenging new project or wish to step-up to cover a more senior role.