On July 2019, I chaired an employee awareness session about the UK Gender Pay Gap in Tech at the company I work for, Dassault Systèmes. The event was very well received and I documented the experience in this LinkedIn article.
Below the material I created for the event: (a) Five myths and truths about the UK gender pay gap in tech, (b) the blue-sky thinking exercise to co-create our north star, and (c) the pre-meeting survey sent to all employees invited to the meeting.
Five Myths – and Truths – about the UK Gender Pay Gap in Tech
- Equal pay is the same that UK Gender Pay Gap
- This one-minute video produced by Business in the Community explains the difference
- The UK Gender Pay Gap will fix itself
- Comparison between the UK gender pay gap reports for the last two years shows (a) no significant improvement for UK’s largest companies and public sector bodies, and (b) the gender pay gap still remains a major issue in UK Tech (source1, souce2)
- The UK Gender Pay Gap in tech companies is women’s fault because (a) they don’t pursue STEM careers, and (b) they leave their jobs for full-time motherhood
- Explaining the low percentage of women working in tech exclusively as a reflection of the female/male ratio studying STEM careers is disingenuous. R&D departments in tech companies represent less than half of their headcount. Whilst it’s true that fewer women than men study STEM careers, women graduate from other disciplines that are also employed by tech companies (e.g. business, law, accounting, HR) at similar or higher rates than male students.
- As per 2018 tack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey, developers who self-identify as women or non-binary rank the office environment and company culture as their highest concern
- The two top reasons thirtysomething women leave companies are better salary and career progression prospects, same as men.
- Fixing the UK Gender Pay Gap is a nice to have
- Women control 70% of household decisions and constitute 50% of the worldwide population with a similar or higher number of women than men in most countries with the exception of South and East Asia and the Middle East nations.
- Enforcement of diversity targets to suppliers is becoming a reality. For example, this article in the ExecutiveCounsel magazine highlights that “companies considering contracting with the US federal government must be prepared to demonstrate the diversity of [their] workforce”.
- The design and creation of all products and services by a minority of the population not only leads to subpar experiences for the other groups but also may impact their safety. This article by Caroline Criado Perez highlights examples where designs assuming “male” as the default fail to cater to women, some of them endangering their lives.
- Reducing the UK Gender Pay Gap is only the purview of HR and the executive team
- Company leadership may only see part of the picture. 164 HR executives surveyed by ICEDR ranked struggling with work-life balance and planning to have children as the main reasons women around age 30 leave organizations. As discussed above, both women and male millennials pointed out to better pay and career progression as the top reasons to leave a job.
Blue Sky Thinking Exercise
Travel to April 5th 2021 and imagine you are reading the UK Gender Pay Gap Report issued by the company you work for corresponding to the period of 5 April 2019 – 5 April 2020.
1.- What is the median hourly rate for 2019/2020?
2.- What were the three key initiatives rolled out for that period to address the gender pay gap at the company?
3.- What are the next steps to reduce the gender pay gap?
1.- Rate your agreement with the following sentence “I have a good understanding of the scope, key indicators, and impact of the UK Gender Pay Gap”.
- Strongly agree
- Strongly disagree
- I don’t know
2.- Have you read the company’s UK Gender Pay Gap 2019 (UK)?
3.- What is your goal attending this meeting on “Five myths about Gender Pay Gap in Tech”? (Free text answer)
4.- What of the following terms do you associate with UK Gender Pay Gap? Check all that apply.
|o Anger||o Guilt|
|o Anticipation||o Hope|
|o Anxiety||o Indifference|
|o Bias||o Interest|
|o Boredom||o Jealousy|
|o Confusion||o Meritocracy|
|o Contempt||o Optimism|
|o Envy||o Pessimism|
|o Curiosity||o Pride|
|o Disappointment||o Rage|
|o Disgust||o Relief|
|o Empathy||o Satisfaction|
|o Equality||o Surprise|
|o Excitement||o Sympathy|
|o Fairness||o Transparency|
|o Fear||o Unfairness|
The capuchin monkey fairness experiment (1-min video)
The truth about the gender pay gap (3-min video)
Michelle Gyimah (Gender Pay Consultant – Equality Pays)
Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez