The gender pay gap has been well documented in recent years, and in many countries, organisations are now required to publish the difference between their average pay for men and women in similar roles. This development helps to shine a light on the issue and encourages organisations to put in place better policies and practices.
But what about engagement? Are there differences between men and women in terms of their employment experience?
We analysed a sample of 7 international organisations with whom we have run recent engagement surveys. We calculated the difference between levels of positivity for women and men for 10 topics using one question per topic. The results were averaged by topic and the results are set out in the graph below.
For all 10 topics women were less positive than men. The average gap was 7% but with considerable variation between topics: Leadership had the highest gap at 13% and Reward the lowest at 1%.
One organisation had an average gap over all topics of 11% – another was close to 0%. The results show considerable variation in performance across the organisations.
We have noticed gender gaps in in engagement surveys before, but this was the first time we had undertaken this analysis and we were surprised by the scale of the results.
We are not suggesting that all organisations have a gender engagement gap – far from it – simply that many do, and we would encourage all organisation to discover their own position.
We have also seen gender gaps involving men less positive than women.
Are these results statistically significant? Statistical significance means that there is a very low probability of results happening by chance – that in effect you can be sure that there really is a difference between men and women’s experiences. For an organisation with 500 staff evenly split between men and women, a gender gap of 8% would be statistically significant. For an organisation with 1,000 staff the threshold would drop to 6% and for an organisation with 2,000 staff it would be 4%. However, many managers will be interested to explore their gender gaps even if they are not statistically significant.
If you do find a gender engagement gap in your organisation, then we would encourage you to:
- Be transparent and publish the data both overall and broken down for your different teams and departments
- Explore the year or year trends
- Discuss with senior management
- Treat the issue as a key organisation-wide priority
- Dig into your survey data and talk to your people to reach a deeper understanding of their perceptions and experiences
- Put in place appropriate mechanisms to drive change.
Many of our clients have found certification with EDGE helpful. EDGE (www.edge-cert.org) is a leading global assessment and business certification organisation for gender equality. Their work is built around four pillars that define success in gender equality:
- Strong gender balance at all levels of the organization
- Proactive management of pay equity
- Solid framework of effective gender equality policies and practices
- An inclusive culture, as reflected in employees’ high ratings in terms of gender equality.
To discuss this further please contact Roger Parry, Agenda Consulting on +44 1865 263720 or firstname.lastname@example.org