I have lost count of the number of times I have written about the gender pay gap- the need to close it, the requirement for quotas to close it quickly, the levels of disparity, the lack of government intervention I could go on.
The revelation in Hollywood that the actor Michelle Williams would only receive expenses for re filming scenes while her male counterpart was to receive over a million dollars for doing the same thing was another blow to the debate over equity in gender pay. Some will probably argue that the disparity wasn’t a result of discrimination but the fault of her lawyers and agents who didn’t ensure her contract was water tight. Either way there was a huge disparity and it reminds us that all areas of employment are affected.
And as we begin 2018 so requirements for companies with 250+ members of staff to disclose its gender pay reporting comes into effect. And paving the way is Citigroup; its disclosure of the gender (and ethnic) pay gap published today revealed a gap of just 1% – reportedly the smallest of it’s kind. It was based on analysis of the company’s workforce in the UK as well as the US and Germany.
The disclosure followed sustained pressure from the company’s shareholder Arjuna Capital which told Citigroup it would be forced to disclose its gender pay gap and produce solid policies to reduce it.
The shareholders, Arjuna, said that Citigroups revelations moved it into a leadership on pay equity. Its spokesperson said: “This is a tipping point for the Wall Street Banks. We expect women will not only receive the pay they deserve at Citi, the company will reap the benefits of talent acquisition and retention so that more women can move into leadership. Other leading banks can either follow Citi’s example on gender pay or risk further laggard status on issues of concern to women.”
And in a note to staff the head of human resources at Citigroup detailed exactly how it had gone about assessing and addressing pay equity. He explained: “We have long had a number of efforts in place to help us adhere to that principle [the importance of pay equity]. This year, we expanded on those efforts to assess pay at Citi when comparing women to men, and US minorities to non-minorities.
“[Citi] was making appropriate increases to help close the gaps for both women and US minorities…We will also adjust compensation for other individuals where the analysis determined increases were warranted,” he added.
I will watch closely to see results of other companies’ disclosures which they must do this year (if they have over 250 employees), but it seems that Citigroup is making real efforts to address both ethnic and gender pay gaps.