On 10th November last year, the women in our London studio walked out at 3.34pm to support Equal Pay Day, a collective action against the gender pay gap. This time represents when women effectively stop earning compared to men, based on yearly earnings and the national gender pay gap of 18%. Back in November, ustwo’s pay gap stood at 9% – supporting this protest was an opportunity for the studio to join the wider stand against the pay gap as well as to reflect on what we were doing as a studio to address it.
In the UK there are many causes for the gap: discrimination, lack of affordable childcare, in-flexible working, the proliferation of zero-hour contracts, segregation of labour markets, caring (be that children or elderly relatives for example) duties primarily falling on women and the inherent undervaluing of women's work. All of this is underscored by the persistence of imbalanced, gendered attitudes towards family responsibilities – both across our workplaces and within our homes.
Currently, we’re looking at another 60 years before the gender pay gap in the UK is closed. So what can we, and the rest of our industry, do to hasten the pace?
At ustwo London, we’re well aware that we have fewer women in our senior and lead roles. Unlike blatant discrimination – someone being paid less for the same job based on their gender – this is a much more elusive beast to tackle. Blame the pipeline, blame circumstance, blame legacy, blame experience. However we look at it, we still have a problem with women, on average, not having access to the same higher-paying roles.
That is not to say there hasn’t been improvement, and we are moving forward – but it does mean we have work left to do. On a day where over 9,000 employers in the UK need to publish annual figures relating to their gender pay gap and bonus gap, we’re pleased, but not complacent, about sharing that in our London studio our gender pay gap is currently 3.5%.
Below we’re sharing further statistics following the legally mandated method of reporting:
As the data shows, we have made a clear progression since March 2016 when we had a pay gap of 13% – and it wasn’t by chance. Here’s what we have done so far to close the gap:
- We’re starting to tackle our hiring pipeline problem by introducing 50/50 short-lists for new roles – and as a result have hired a female Head of Engineering who will be starting in June. We also now ask our recruiters to commit to ensuring 50% of their candidate introductions are from underrepresented groups.
- Our London leadership team now consists of three women and two men; Helen Fuchs joined as our Design Director in February this year.
- We’ve rolled out progression frameworks for our coaching, design and development disciplines, enabling equal access to progression. Everyone at ustwo has a peer coach, as well as their manager, who supports them in achieving their progression goals.
- We’ve introduced more regular salary reviews, giving everyone an opportunity to talk about the impact they’re making with their role, the team they work with, and the business as a whole. Statistics show that certain types of people feel more comfortable in these situations – women, for example, are less likely to negotiate their pay and face a higher ‘social cost’ in doing so.
- We’ve also introduced equal paid parental leave – both men and women will have access to 6 months of fully paid leave. We’re not asking women to lean in, we’re creating the circumstances for both men and women to take time out to be parents, and will support the career progression of either parent when they return to work.
So it's progress, but we can’t stop there – a gender pay gap of 3.5% is still a gap and needs to be addressed.
These are our next steps:
- We will create a progression framework for all the business supporting roles.
- We will trial a leadership training course for all who are under-represented at ustwo.
- We will focus on getting smarter about flexible working – no small feat in a client services business when understandably clients can assume team members will be available every day of the week.
- We’ll examine how we could make term-time working possible for parents in the studio.
- We’re committed to finding the most transparent salary framework, appropriate for our studio.
As we look forward to how we can continue to improve on this count, we welcome feedback from others in our industry about concrete steps they’re taking to close the gender pay gap.