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Employee Wellbeing Q4 2023

Gender pay gap is delaying progress: here’s what we need to do

Two business women having a discussion, they're standing in an office and using a tablet
Two business women having a discussion, they're standing in an office and using a tablet
iStock / Getty Images Plus / JLco - Julia Amaral

Gillian Harford

Country Executive, 30% Club

The gender pay gap can only be addressed by equal representation at every level in organisations, and that opens a window of opportunity for more focused action planning on employee policies and experiences.


During this month, employers in Ireland will be publishing their Gender Pay Gap (GPG) for the second time in compliance with the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021. The GPG is the difference in the average hourly wage of men and women across a workforce. Outcomes will range from single-digit percentages to more substantial gaps.  

Under-representation of women 

Organisations are now familiar with the root causes of the variations within their own data. Ultimately, the gap is driven by the under-representation of women in higher-paid roles.  

Under-representation is a more complex challenge to address, and senior roles of influence will have the potential to be particularly vulnerable to gender pay gaps until we can address the talent pipeline imbalance. 

Senior roles of influence will have the potential to
be particularly vulnerable to gender pay gaps until
we can address the talent pipeline imbalance.

The action plan is more important than the gap 

We know from experience that driving change to correct under-representation will need more than just aspirational thinking; it needs a cohesive plan focusing on driving real change. Fortunately, the Irish reporting structure requires not just reporting of the gap but details of how the gap will be addressed over time.  

The strongest opportunity arising from GPG reporting is the access to data, where organisations now have the metrics to understand where the highest incidences of gender under-representation occur and what is driving gender-related patterns within their organisation.  

Correct use of this data provides the basis for more robust KPIs and opens the conversation to the idea of targets, particularly for more balanced representation at the most senior decision-making levels, in line with the ambitions of advocates such as the 30% Club and Balance for Better Business. 

Ideally, we need to focus on short and long-term ambitions that go beyond the workplace and into early education and alternative talent strategies. These include re-training, returner programmes and other workplace talent initiatives.  

For more information, visit: 30percentclub.org/chapters/ireland/ 

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