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28 Mar 2024

Top tips for achieving gender equity and inclusivity

How can organisations break down the barriers that women face in the workplace, from lack of inclusion to gender pay gaps?

Top tips for achieving gender equity and inclusivity.jpg


This year’s International Women’s Day theme, Inspire Inclusion, resonated more than ever as organisations grapple with gender-specific challenges. 

At the heart of a competitive compensation strategy lies the power to break down gender barriers and foster a diverse, highly productive workplace. 

It’s time for progressive businesses to lead the way.

1. Overcoming obstacles 

There is evidence that many of the obstacles to achieving inclusion have a disproportionate impact on women. Breaking down these barriers demands a cultural shift within organisations. 

Inclusive employers may consider five identified policy areas that women can face barriers in entering, progressing in and remaining in the workplace: 

  • Recruitment
  • Dress and appearance
  • Carers’ support
  • Flexible and hybrid working
  • Maternity leave. Learn more

2. Closing the gender pay gap 

Closing the gender pay gap requires strategic initiatives beyond routine reporting. 

As well as flexible working and targeted career development opportunities, positive measures involving pay policies and benefits, job evaluation, performance-related pay and pay equity audits can make a huge difference to compensation and talent strategies. 

HR teams in many progressive organisations realise that, by making clear the steps they are taking to address their gender pay gap, they enhance their corporate reputation among both potential recruits and present employees. 

Even words such as ‘assertive’, ‘leadership’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘caring’ can have gender-specific associations. Find out more

3. Review your organisation’s pay levels

While many factors feed into the UK’s 9.4% gender pay gap, examination of earnings distribution points to one important source of the disparity: women still tend to occupy the middle and lower pay quartiles and be underrepresented in the top pay quartile. 

Therefore, whether reviewing starting salaries, annual pay reviews or ad hoc increases, organisations should ensure individuals are not discriminated against because of gender, marital or civil partnership status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, or because they work part-time or on a fixed-term contract.

Where anything other than an across-the-board pay increase is made, the risks of discrimination are greater. 

Employers should review the outcome of pay reviews for potential discrimination. In particular, the decisions of line managers should be monitored. 

Even with a basic, across-the-board increase, it is wise to check that the pay review is not perpetuating patterns of inequality. 

Some employers choose to carry out a full equal pay audit after every pay review or every two or three years. The overall spread of pay awards should be checked for equality issues and employers will need to make sure that they have the employee data to do this. Learn more

4. Key KPIs for HR success  

The importance of the HR leader role is increasing as organisations navigate rapid and sometimes disruptive changes in the world of work. 

The dynamics of where, when and how employees work, along with evolving expectations, call for a strategic emphasis on measurable and achievable key performance indicators (KPIs) for HR. 

An approach of ‘what gets measured gets managed’ enhances organisational strength by aligning HR efforts with overall business strategy and top priorities. 

Data from these KPIs not only evaluates the success of HR’s employee strategy but also provides actionable insights, enabling adjustments to ensure organisations stay on course.

Embracing new work paradigms, prioritising employee wellbeing, upskilling the workforce, attracting and retaining talent, fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, and nurturing the next generation of leaders are paramount. Learn more about these KPIs


  • Organisations may also use a third-party solution, such as Gapsquare, to find gender pay gap rates and other pay equity insights. One KPI target might be to reduce the gender pay gap rate each year by a certain number of percentage points (e.g. 5% per year) until pay equity (0%) is achieved.
  • With the right pay grading and salary benchmarking tool, such as Cendex, organisations can construct competitive and equitable pay structures for the purposes of hiring and promotion. 

Join us in driving workplace equality and fostering a world free of bias. 

In partnership with XpertHR

People make all the difference. That's why it's our mission to empower every organisation with the confidence and specialist data and insights to improve business outcomes and create a purposeful workplace for all.

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