How hybrid working will widen the gender pay gap

With the news that the government remains cautious about deciding whether to end all Covid restrictions in England on 21 June, we are all eagerly awaiting details of the next stage out of lockdown.

Every day there’s another story about the havoc being wreaked in the wake of Covid-19.

And every week, a new report is published on how Covid-19 is having a negative impact on women and their careers which means that the gender pay gap will widen. 

While we all recognise that women are over-represented in the hardest hit sectors such as hospitality, leisure and retail which have been shut down for long periods of time, across all sectors, women are more likely to be trying to balance full-time working and for several months full-time home-schooling. 

This means that women were more likely to have requested furlough, holiday or unpaid leave so they could home-school (reported by the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group) despite their worries that this would put their careers on hold and that they’d ultimately pay the price by missing out on promotion opportunities.

Indeed, many women decided to quit the workforce altogether, rather than risk complete burnout. 

All of this will contribute to widening, not closing, your gender pay gap.

On the other hand, we’ve experienced more workplace flexibility than we might ever have imagined. 

We’ve seen that remote working really does work BUT there is a danger that the continuance of remote working in the future will widen the gender pay gap?

In September last year CIPD published a report on new ways of working post- pandemic which showed that 40% of employers expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home after the pandemic has ended. 

Heralding the ‘flexible working’ of the future

We’re seeing a flurry of ‘flexible working’ announcements from forward-thinking employers:

  • For example, the Bank of Ireland UK has said it will establish “hubs” to allow staff to use desks and attend meetings.
  • Professional services firm KPMG has told its 16,000 staff they can leave early one day a week as part of a move towards more flexible working after lockdown.
  • EY told its 17,000 staff that the accountancy firm will move to a “hybrid working model”, mixing work in the home and the office and that staff will be expected to work from home for at least two days a week.

While we’ve all been working from home, it didn’t matter where you were based. We’ve all been equally remote and, therefore, equally visible.  

However, from the research, we know that those more likely to want to work from home more often are people with disabilities, parents of young children and women.

There is a big danger here.

If more women than men take up the option of remote working, women will become even less visible in the workplace. 

Visibility at work is a critical factor for career progress. 

Less visibility will lead to women being less likely to get a promotion and the accompanying pay rise which means that your gender pay gap will widen as a result.  

However as an organisation you can have a positive influence on the long-term effects of the pandemic on your female talent (and therefore your gender pay gap) by: 

  • raising awareness of how communication and behaviour at work affects how you are likely to be perceived by co-workers and senior management 
  • teaching how to get more visible so employees make a bigger impact in the workplace even if working regularly from home
  • educating your female talent how to appreciate their unique strengths, so they can clearly articulate their skills, ambitions and value to the business 
  • communicating the importance of setting and maintaining clear boundaries, so your female talent doesn’t start to burn out and ultimately quit
  • supporting your promising female leadership talent to build career support networks so they feel less isolated which means they are more likely to put themselves forward for promotion
  • submitting your gender pay gap report before 5 October when enforcement action starts so that you have the data you need to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on your gender pay gap.  

You can help to ensure that your female talent knows HOW and WHY to stay visible, even if working from home in a variety of ways e.g. workshops, lunch ‘n’ learns or a leadership development programme. 

Women In Technology Leadership programme

Running a leadership development programme sends a powerful message that clearly communicates your organisation’s awareness of the impact of Covid-19 on women’s careers and demonstrates your commitment to gender diversity and female talent development. 

You may not have the resources or bandwidth in-house to design, develop and deliver a leadership development programme and that’s why I’d like to tell you about my Women In Technology Leadership programme which starts on Monday 28 June.

The Women in Technology Leadership programme has been designed specifically for women working in technology, a traditionally male-dominated environment.

It offers structured blended learning which incorporates 1:1 coaching, group calls and access to online tools and resources so that participants develop their leadership, communication and negotiation skills, build their resilience, grow in emotional intelligence and self-awareness so that your female talent knows HOW to remain visible, even if working remotely, which means that you avoid the negative impact of hybrid working on your gender pay gap.

Get in touch today to book an exploratory call about the Women In Technology Leadership programme.  

How women only leadership programmes help close the gender pay gap

Technology may be a trail-blazing sector but when it comes to the gender pay gap, men are still out-earning women from promotions to pay cheques.

At the same time, there are increasing demands from both shareholders and employees for a diverse and inclusive workforce. Not just because it’s good for profitability but it increases productivity and enhances your reputation as a world-class employer.

Women feel less entitled than men

A report published by The Female Lead earlier this year found that “Women have been socially conditioned to feel less entitled than men in all areas of their lives and this has created a big entitlement gap between men and women.

This means that even in organisations with a strong commitment to workforce diversity, we see career progression plateau for mid-career women while male progression continues to rise.

When you develop target-driven action plans, it sends a clear commitment that you understand what is causing your pay gaps and that you will take meaningful steps to address those challenges.

A women’s leadership development programme is one tangible initiative that gets a significant return on your investment.

But if you’ve never offered one before, it may be overwhelming to start with an in-house initiative. That’s why I offer employers the opportunity to send your staff to participate in a public Women In Technology Leadership programme.

Get in touch to find out more about my next public programme which starts in June 2021.

Why a women only leadership programme?

Given that the technology sector tends to be male-dominated, it’s appropriate to introduce a women-only programme.

Such initiatives are welcomed by women because they provide a safe environment for discussion and an opportunity to talk about particular perspectives that women experience in (and out of) the workplace.

Whether you run in-house or send participants to a public offering, a women’s leadership development programme will:

  • Enhance your reputation as a forward-thinking employer taking proactive steps to develop and retain its female talent which means that you are more likely to attract (and retain) the best female talent.
  • Give an opportunity for participants to be inspired, encouraged, motivated and held accountable so that the participants become leading role models which means that the programme has a ripple effect.
  • Offer a structured format exploring key principles of authentic leadership so that participants develop confidence in their leadership skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence and self-awareness which means that they become genuine advocates to support you in adapting the cultural landscape.
  • Build skills in areas where women may feel uncomfortable or less confident such as self-advocacy, negotiation, or taking credit for achievements which means that they are better informed and equipped to take ownership for their own careers.
  • Create access to a professional network, a ‘circle of trust’ so that they become more creative and productive with the pooling of expertise and experience which means that they are better equipped to tackle your technology challenges.

The advantages of public training over in-house programmes

Let’s explore the key advantages of sending your female talent to a public training programme:

  • Participants mix with people from different companies and backgrounds so that they gain fresh perspective and new insights which means that they develop original and innovative approaches.
  • Participants are less likely to become isolated and stuck in the ‘traditional’ ways of doing things, which means that they are more likely to develop modern and inventive products.
  • Increased privacy and confidentiality so that participants feel safe to share challenging scenarios which means that they are more likely to tackle similar situations in a more mature and considered way in the future.
  • More cost effective than running a full women’s leadership programme in house which means that you are more likely to get budget approval to ‘test the waters’.
  • You don’t need to book meeting rooms and organise supplies which means that it reduces the administrative burden.
  • Work with an established specialist in women’s leadership development which means that you get the benefit of deep-rooted knowledge and experience.

My next public programme – June 2021

It’s for these reasons that I’m offering you the opportunity to send your female talent to my next public Women In Technology Leadership programme.

The price per participant is just £3,000 and the next cohort begins on 28 June 2021.

There is minimal pre-registration involved.

Plus it’s virtual so there are no travel costs involved and your employees can attend from anywhere in the world.

Get in touch today if you’re ready to do more to develop your female talent and start to close the gender pay gap.

A powerful way for tech companies to support female talent development

A powerful way for technology companies to support female talent development is by great way to develop your female tech talent is to sponsor them to attend external networking events.

One of the best ones coming up in the summer is the WomenTech Global Conference which runs from 7-11 June 2021.

I’m delighted to be invited to be one of the speakers when I’ll be talking on How to Manage Your Career with Confidence And Purpose to Realise Your Ambitions.

I’ll be sharing how to make the most of 3 Cs of Clarity, Commitment and Community in order to make a bigger impact so that women can take control of their careers – rather than give away control of their career.

With more than 500 speakers, there’s bound to be several talks of relevance to your staff. 

The event has something to offer if you’re a software engineer, product manager, designer, data scientist, business manager in tech, work for a tech company, startup, digital agency, consulting firm or in a tech department.

Your staff can learn the latest technology, grow their skills and deliver more value to your organisation by attending WomenTech Global Conference (WTGC).

Support your female talent to build a stronger network with women in tech communities worldwide, collaborate locally and globally, find new opportunities and contribute to the community to make an impact.

Find out more HERE.

Plus it’s virtual so your female talent can attend from anywhere in the world.

Let’s talk

If you’d love a call to explore how I can help your company develop and retain female talent to close the gender pay gap, let’s talk. Email me today at sherry@sherrybevan.co.uk.

About Sherry Bevan

Leadership consultant, author and speaker, Sherry Bevan is a former Global Head of IT Service for a City law firm. In 2012, after 25 years in the City, she set herself up as an independent consultant and coach.

Sherry specialises in partnering with technology companies to develop and retain their female talent so that they get promoted which means that you close the gender pay gap, through workshops, development programmes and 1:1 coaching.

Get in touch by email or via LinkedIn to book a call to find out how you can work with Sherry to develop and retain your top female talent.

Top 3 predictions for tech companies who want to close the gender pay gap

Have you reported on your gender pay gap yet? 

As of Friday last week, the number of companies to make their disclosures was just 2,528 which inevitably brings into question the commitment of employers to tackle the gender pay gap. 

Although employers now have until October to report, both the EHRC and the CIPD  have urged employers to report their figures by the usual reporting deadlines i.e. 4 April for the private sector. 

Top 3 predictions for tech companies who want to close the gender pay gap

On LinkedIn last week I shared my top 3 predictions for closing the gender pay gap in 2021

In summary, my predictions are:

  1. The Gender Pay Gap in the technology sector will worsen not improve
  2. An increased focus to improve flexible working practices
  3. Too much focus on the gender pay gap numbers and not the bigger picture

Check out the article HERE to see if my predictions correlate with yours. 

What else I am doing to develop and retain female tech talent this month

One of my technology company clients is about to launch a new women’s network. I’m going to be their keynote speaker at their launch event to talk about how to use networking and personal branding for maximum impact on your career success. 

We’ve worked together to develop a presentation whose aim is to help participants: 

  • recognise the benefits of networking to create positive influence and impact which means that they will be more successful in applying for more senior roles
  • understand how skills such as listening, empathy, and emotional intelligence contribute to building strong business relationships which means that participants feel confident networking in a way that feels authentic and achievable
  • get inspired and encouraged to create and implement effective networking strategies which means that they are more likely to put these into action, even if they are an introvert
  • leave the session with tangible and practical takeaways which means that they will be able to confidently network online or work a room from starting a conversation to elegantly moving onto the next conversation
  • get motivated to leverage their network with authenticity which means that they are more likely to progress their career more quickly

Let’s talk

If you’d love a market insight call to explore what the technology sector is doing to develop and retain female talent to close the gender pay gap, let’s talk. Email me today at sherry@sherrybevan.co.uk.

About Sherry Bevan

Leadership consultant, author and speaker, Sherry Bevan is a former Global Head of IT Service for a City law firm. In 2012, after 25 years in the City, she set herself up as an independent consultant and coach.

Sherry specialises in partnering with technology companies to develop and retain their female talent so that they get promoted which means that you close the gender pay gap, through workshops, development programmes and 1:1 coaching.

Get in touch by email or via LinkedIn to book a call to find out how you can work with Sherry to develop and retain your top female talent.

How to use story telling to close the gender pay gap

It might be a new year but I’m still asking the same question … what do we need to do to close the gender pay gap? 

Particularly for women in technology.

What’s so special about women in technology? Everything and nothing.

Everything because technology has been my chosen sector for the past 30 years. Nothing because the gender pay gap is rampant across all sectors.

So what’s the story that your organisation is telling about the gender pay gap in National Storytelling Week which runs from 30 January to 6 February?

You might think of National Storytelling Week as a campaign for school children, however storytelling is an important part of our cultural heritage. And it’s a great opportunity to try something new and different to tackle the gender pay gap.

Since the beginning of time, we’ve always enjoyed storytelling. Think of the cave paintings from 80,000 years ago. Or the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.

So how does telling a story help you to retain and develop your female talent so that you can close the gender pay gap?

Storytelling can make a significant contribution to internal communications and employee engagement. It can be a highly effective change agent to help you introduce and advance organisational change.

Stories can stimulate people to think differently. It gives your female talent an opportunity to project a different vision of themselves in the future so that they are more likely to put themselves forward for promotion or to apply for leadership roles.

Storytelling also gives your leaders and managers a better understanding of how and why to do things differently, by providing concrete examples rather than abstract concepts, which means that you can accelerate organisational change.

If you’d like to explore how storytelling can help retain and develop your female talent, let’s talk. Whether or not this is a new concept for you, your organisation has a fabulous opportunity to use storytelling to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

If you’d like to discuss what your organisation is doing to develop and retain its female talent and close the gender pay gap, let’s talk.

Get in touch with me HERE to book a call.

Why increasing diversity is a top 10 trend in IT industry

According to Carolyn April, senior director of industry analysis at CompTIA, increasing diversity is one of the 10 trends to watch in the IT industry in 2021.

As reported in the IT Industry Outlook 2021 report, it’s time for companies to move beyond awareness of increasing diversity to public accountability on deliverables.

We know there have been 100s of initiatives and yet progress in many parts of the IT industry is painfully and embarrassingly slow.

One of the reasons that I’m writing a white paper (to be published March 2021) is to explore what is working and what is not to increase diversity in the IT sector.

Is it time for a new approach?

Will your organisation be setting public goals for diversity? And if not, why not?

Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your 2021 diversity plans.

Shortlisted in The Learning Awards!

I love to keep one foot in employment so that I have a real and lived understanding of the challenges faced by your best female talent.

Back in March, I started a part-time fixed term contract at Macmillan Cancer Support. I joined the Volunteering L&D team to work on a project to design and develop digital induction training for their amazing volunteers.

Less than two weeks later the whole nation went into lockdown and Macmillan was faced with the challenge of converting their face to face emotional support volunteering to a remote offer, almost overnight.

I worked with the very lovely Kathryn Palmer-Skillings and colleagues across the charity to create new learning content, repurpose training materials and create a new digital learning programme for Macmillan’s Telephone Buddy Scheme that was ready to be used within a week.

It wasn’t the project I expected to be working on … but oh my goodness what an incredible experience.

I was part of an amazing team and we all worked really hard. As a result our volunteers were able to support more than 2,000 people living with cancer, in part because of the learning that we created.

Just imagine our delight this week when we heard we’d been shortlisted for the Learning & Performance Institute Learning Awards in the Digital Learning Transformation of the Year.

So exciting … now the long wait until February to find out the winner.

UPDATE – WE WON!!!

How to support staff going through redundancy

It makes good business sense to offer as much support as you can to employees going through redundancy, including offering outplacement support.

But it’s also important to support the staff who are not leaving. They are likely to be feeling a mixture of upset, guilt, relief, anger and grief.

Outplacement support helps the staff being made redundant as well as those who are staying:

  • Protects your brand
  • Increases employee engagement
  • Minimises potential litigation
  • Manage a smooth transition

A good outplacement plan will help staff to:

  • Get clarity on their career strengths and experiences
  • Leverage their personal brand
  • Develop a career plan moving forward
  • Identify networking opportunities
  • Navigate the online job market
  • Create a powerful LinkedIn profile
  • Discover how to write and tailor CVs and covering letters
  • Prepare effectively for job interviews, including video interviews

When I run outplacement workshops for organisations we explore:

  • Skills and strengths
  • Values – i.e. what’s most important to you
  • Mindset
  • Behaviour profiling
  • Presentation i.e. LinkedIn profile and CV
  • Interview preparation
  • Networking confidence
  • Action plan

What’s most rewarding is watching the group work together to support and lift each other. For example, often we don’t recognise our own strengths. Sometimes we take a talent for granted because it feels so easy.

When you run an outplacement workshop, individuals get constructive feedback from peers and former co-workers and this can be a huge boost to morale and confidence.

What outplacement support do you offer staff going through redundancy?

What the UK tech sector is doing to attract and retain female talent

According to the Office of National Statistics, in the UK, women account for just 17% of workers in the tech sector.

This drops even more when you look at specific roles e.g. the proportion of women working as system designers and IT business analysts is 14% and only women make up only 13% of programmers and software developers.

During the Brexit debate, many argued that the UK’s growing reputation as a viable technology leader would help to safeguard the nation’s economy in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU.

Last year the UK tech sector experienced a record-breaking 12 months from the perspective of investment.

And the government announced that around 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled workers will need to be hired by 2022 to support the huge growth of this sector.

Yet … the percentage of women in tech roles remains low, for a whole range of reasons.

And that’s before we even get started on discussing the gender pay gap.

What are you doing in your organisation to attract and retain women in technology roles?

Here are some ideas that other organisations include in their strategy:

  • Offering coaching with either an external or internal coach
  • Running a women in tech network
  • Gender neutral recruitment
  • Launching a women’s returner programme
  • Blind hiring
  • Creation of policies designed to appeal to women and/or mothers
  • Promoting an inclusive work culture
  • Setting quotas when working with external recruitment agencies
  • Hosting graduate careers events aimed at female STEM students

I’d love to hear from you as to what’s worked successfully in your organisation. And also what hasn’t.

Please contact me direct via email or telephone or use the contact form here if you’d like to discuss how your organisation can:

  • Support your female talent with strategies to drive motivation, improve engagement and increase retention.
  • Educate your leaders and managers to help keep your female talent motivated, engaged and prevent the loss of valuable people.
  • Introduce strategies to better attract and retain female talent, improve gender equality, reduce the pay gap and promote an inclusive environment.

New Year, new career?

If your current mantra is New Year, New Career, you’ll love my series of Career Conversations starting on Monday 6 January 2020.

When you’re job hunting or thinking about getting started with the job search, it’s really helpful to hear the real stories and challenges that other women dealt with.

It’s good to know you’re not the only one with fears, worries and doubts.

It’s even better to know that you CAN deal with those challenges.

My Career Conversations series is a sample of what to expect when you join the Career Club online membership community.

To join the Career Conversations (for free), come and join us in the Career Conversations Facebook group.

p.s. who else do you know who’s job hunting or thinking about it? please do share the news about my live 2020 Career Conversations