‘A fair gender pay policy will help to tackle skills crisis’

Forward Ladies managing director Griselda Togobo

MAJOR employers have been urged to implement fair and transparent pay and reward policies as part of a strategy to increase the number of women taking up careers in engineering and technology.

The Yorkshire-based networking group Forward Ladies has published an action plan which it believes will help to tackle the skills crisis in the science technology engineering and maths (STEM) sector.

The report, which is sponsored by Yorkshire Water, Leeds-based Sky Betting & Gaming, BT and Coca Cola, found that more needs to be done to attract young women into jobs that are male dominated.

It said that workplace diversity within the STEM sector remains a major challenge, with just 13 per cent of roles being filled by women.

The action plan to accompany the report states that companies can help to bridge the gap by maintaining strong internal and external networks to support women. They must also ensure that female members of staff are rewarded for good work.

The report says: “Earning potential was the second most popular reason why women left their employment - only six per cent of respondents cited work-life balance. A commitment to fairness and transparency in reward and recognition with robust policies and procedures is needed.”

It concludes: “Achieving diversity starts with small baby steps. Far too many of the employers interviewed during the production of this research seemed unsure of where to begin. Talk is good but actions, no matter how small, are even better.”

The report calls on companies to be more visible on online platforms that are popular with younger job hunters. It calls for more employee advocates for gender equality and larger numbers of diversity advocates.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Leeds, Catherine Boddington, the head of learning and development at Sky Betting & Gaming, said: “It’s apparent there are many opportunities opening up in workplaces, that cultural change is happening, and that clear goals are being set to improve diversity, so these big ambitions have definitely set the tone for a new sense of expectation from women in the workforce.”

She said the next phase would involve using successful women as role models to encourage more women to step forward, and ask for the jobs, salaries and work life balance they deserved.

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