Pay gap reporting - what is it and why do we do it?


Written by

Laurice Harris, Senior Director, People and Talent

At Big Society Capital we aim to be an inclusive employer that attracts talent from all walks of life, while building an inclusive culture internally.  When I joined Big Society Capital in March of this year, one of my commitments was to set clear goals and be transparent about our progress.

One important step towards this is measuring and sharing our gender and ethnicity pay gap. Being transparent about our findings will further enable us to continue making improvements that close these gaps and ultimately contribute to greater equality in the workplace for our people.  Our report sets out our journey to date and plans for the future.

At Big Society Capital we have voluntarily chosen to publish our gender and ethnicity pay as we are committed to being an equal, diverse and inclusive organisation for our colleagues.

What publishing our pay gap means to me

I remember the first time I reported on the gender pay gap in 2018 (at a different organisation). When I first saw the data, I felt a little shocked, quite concerned and really disappointed by the picture the data painted at that time. I was nervous and worried to share the report with the board.

What I quickly learnt was that whilst the data won’t always tell the story that we’d like it to, it gives us a foundation to build actions on that will help us improve over time. Sharing the numbers widely means more people can be part of finding solutions and understanding the challenges around tackling the pay gap, as well as the opportunities can come from doing so.

After many years reporting on the pay gap in various organisations, I have seen very slow movements in reducing the size of gap, and sometimes, even year on year increases, which is hugely frustrating after huge efforts from people around the organisation on a variety of Equality Diversity Inclusion initiatives. I know that tackling the gender and ethnicity pay gap is not something that there is ‘a quick fix’ for.

Our 2022 pay gap data

You can read our 2022 data in our report here.

This year we are pleased to have seen a continued decrease in the gender pay gap – now at 15%, however we are naturally disappointed to see a 2% increase in the ethnicity pay gap which now stands at 16%. We recognise the significance of the increase and will continue our efforts to close the gap. Closing the gap in itself, however, is not our end goal, we want to create a truly inclusive culture that works for all our staff.

What does an inclusive culture look like?

An inclusive culture goes beyond the protected characteristics; it includes diversity of culture, backgrounds, thinking, experiences and it’s about embracing everyone and encouraging people to be able to bring as much of their whole self to work as they wish to.

The business case for diversity at all levels of organisations has been proven - organisations that are diverse, are also more commercially successful. A whole range of studies have proven that diverse workforces and inclusive cultures lead to better business outcomes – improved recruitment and greater innovation are some ways in which diverse thinking from diversity in people benefits organisations.

What are some of the steps we have taken over the past year?

We have taken a number of measures that tangibly set out to drive improvements in diversity. These include things such as further enhancing our maternity pay, matching it with shared parental leave, as well as redefining how we work with our flexible working framework and principles. These measures result in tangible benefits to our people in the workplace.

We have also introduced initiatives that support the development of talent and potential. Some of these target specific groups, for example women in leadership programmes and reverse mentoring.

Looking forward

To really move the dial on diversity, these actions need to be made alongside measures that drive culture change. It is this more intangible culture change in attitudes and beliefs that will make our workplaces truly inclusive in a sustainable way. These measures include initiatives such as creating a safe space for colleagues to share their unique lived experiences to help educate and inform awareness days on topics that employees perhaps haven’t felt able to discuss in the workplace previously and encouraging open conversation.

Creating an inclusive culture is only possible if everyone in the organisation, at all levels, wholeheartedly embraces bringing it to life. Tangible and intangible initiatives work together to evolve cultures from a place where people feel ‘comfortable to fit-in’ to a place where people are ‘confident and celebratory to stand out’.

We are committed to being open and transparent about how we are doing, both internally and externally, and we will continue to share the actions we are taking together to do better.

Gender and ethnicity pay gap 2021