A few gender pay comparisons

  1. Conservative Campaign headquarters reported that women’s median hourly rate is 15.7% higher than men’s, whilst the Labour Party recorded a median hourly rate for women 4% lower than men’s.
  2. The CBI reported that women’s median hourly rate is 15.1% lower than men’s, compared to Unite the Union’s gender gap of  29.6% lower in favour of men. The GMB’s Women’s median hourly rate is 32.4% lower than men’s and Unison’s women’s median hourly rate is 15.8% lower than men’s.
  3. The Royal College of Nursing has a median gender pay gap of 13.7% lower than men, whereas the General Medical Council has a median gap of  6.7% in favour of men. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has a women’s median hourly rate of 3.7% lower than men’s and the British Medical Association has a gap for women that is 13.6% lower than men’s.
  4. The Rugby Football Union reports that women’s median hourly rate is 6.6% lower than men’s, at the Football Association the women’s median hourly rate is 12.1% lower than men’s and the England and Wales Cricket Board has a Women’s median hourly rate which is 17% lower than men’s. At the Jockey Club, women’s median hourly rate is 23% higher than men’s.
  5. The Guardian News and Media has reported that women’s median hourly rate is 12.1% lower than men’s, The Times newspaper has a women’s median hourly rate is 12.7% lower than men’s. Associated Newspapers (home of the Daily Mail) has a Women’s median hourly rate is 15.4% lower than men’s, whereas at The Economist Women’s median hourly rate is 29.5% lower than men’s.
  6. The University of Cambridge has a gender pay gap where women’s median hourly rate is 15% lower than men’s, at the University of Oxford women’s median hourly rate is 13.7% lower than men’s. The University of Sunderland reports  that women’s median hourly rate is 20.9% lower than men’s, the gap at the University of Portsmouth is for women’s median hourly rate to be 23.3% lower than men’s.
  7. Bravissimo has a pay gap where women’s median hourly rate is 6.2% lower than men’s, Ann Summers has a women’s median hourly rate which is 21.6% lower than men’s. At Victoria’s Secret, women’s median hourly rate is 19.4% lower than men’s.

NB: The company median hourly pay gap for the UK is 9.8% in favour of men.

Presence and state

We all know that how you show up in a certain situation or moment can change the impact that you have and the outcomes that you achieve. No more so than when you hold a leadership position.

My advice to leaders is always to think as much about how they are as what they are doing or saying. The impact of presence and state convey more than words, actions or intent will ever do.

Think of the manager, arms full of papers rushing from one meeting to next past their team who are up to their necks in work. Or the conversation when they’re “listening”, but there’s no-one home behind the eyes.

Our ability to control our state and to be present in the moment when people around us most need us is critical to being truly successful and effective as a leader. Using emotion effectively rather than letting it leak and making the moment more about us than others.

Of course, everyone is human and there will always be moments when we are down, distracted, angry or even simply unhappy. But there is a big difference from “having a moment”, to having a permanent state where we make ourselves the central point around which the emotional state of others should gravitate.

Making a conscious decision to be selfless in action is one of the biggest leadership skills and the higher up the organisation, the more self-control, discipline and focus is required. The closer to the sun you get, the larger shadow you cast. Each of us in our role as leaders would be well served to take a little more time to focus on our presence and state.

It’s all about responsibility

I’m going to go out on a limb here and state my belief that the world broadly splits into two groups of people:

  • Those that always believe someone else should carry the can
  • Those that always believe they’re ultimately responsible.

In our rational minds we know that neither of these assertions is correct, some things we’re responsible for, others not so much.

In  my work and my life I’ve met a lot of the first group and they drive me to despair. As an individual that believes most of the tragedies in the world are somehow connected to a bad decision I’ve made in the past, I don’t understand them at all. I don’t understand their footloose and fancy free approach to life, I don’t respect their unwillingness to share the burden and I dislike their lack of thoughtfulness.

In every single context I would rather hire, collaborate with, work with or live with the person that shares my constant assessment of responsibility. I love people who have lists, who wake up with a million things that they feel guilty about not doing, that fret and worry about not fulfilling their very best. Those that feel the responsibility of their existence on their shoulders.

I admit I’m biased, I’m not trying to hide that or to shy away from my personal preference and style. In a world where too often, too many are quick to point the finger at others, are unwilling to accept the responsibility of office, of stature and of simple existence, I’m proud of this particular bias.

It is, absolutely, all about responsibility. Every step, every action, every thought we have on this mortal coil has an impact. So let’s not shy away from that and accept the natural state. By doing so we shift our energy into conscious action and effort and through that we can start to make positive change.

Rather than just exist in our perfect mind.

It doesn’t hurt to be kind

A lesson I’ve learnt as I’ve got older is that kindness is a very different to softness. Too often, images and predetermination of the role of HR professionals can make the young practitioner shy away from kindness, fearing the tag of being soft, weak, indulgent – typical personnel.

This is a complete misunderstanding of kindness.

You can be kind as you break some of the hardest messages to people, deal in the most difficult of situations. You can be kind as you lead others through troubled times. You can be kind in every aspect of your work, no matter how trying or hard.

Being kind is to show consideration for others – that is at the heart of our practice and what we do. The antonym of kind isn’t tough, it is cruel. There is no reason that you cannot be both tough and kind, in fact I’d argue that’s in many ways aspirational.

As we go about our practice, whether you’re a human resources professional, a manager or leader, we can all take time to be a little bit kinder, no matter what the context. By putting ourselves in the position of others, by displaying empathy and understanding, we can help not only to achieve better results, but to learn and grow ourselves.

Kindness in business is not a dirty word, it is the secret that too many overlook.