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Closing the gender pay gap. One business just got serious

A tech firm has discovered an 8.6% pay gap and is tackling it with an interesting solution

With a name like Brainlabs it is easy to assume that this British company is smart and forward-thinking, especially when you find out that it is making efforts to close the 8.6% gender wage gap that it has identified. However, all may not be as it seems.

Recently Brainlabs, a company that specialises in selling mathematical expertise, has been assessing the wage structure within its business. Brainlabs says that salaries were previously worked out based solely upon employee experience. However, a country-wide review has seen salaries reviewed and normalised and this has also seen Brainlabs closing its gender pay gap.

So, Brainlabs has started to solve some of the issues that led to a difference in pay between genders. However, there are still other factors to consider including the roles typically covered by the genders; the difference in availability to work, with women typically having to reduce their hours more than men due to maternity and motherhood; and of course it is important to consider which of the genders typically negotiates for a pay rise more often.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though Brainlabs will be tackling these issues. Instead, it is focusing upon the use of language among its staff. Gender-specific language such as “stop being a girl” is now seen as harmful in the company’s quest to quash gender inequality.

However, perhaps thankfully, Brainlabs seems not to be following the same train of thought as Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, whose arguments on feminism in the workplace have previously proven shaky and have seen her advise women to “lean in” and become more assertive in order to get on in the workplace.

Instead Brainlabs has taken an important first step towards eliminating gender inequality in the workplace by recognising that it is not solely the woman’s responsibility to fix the system that has failed them so many times in the past and continues to do so today.

The blanket pay rise that it has introduced may seem to indicate that it is a forward-thinking trailblazer in a quest to quash gender discrimination. But if we look deeper in to the wage gap theory then we discover that Brainlabs has ignored a whole host of data which would suggest that the pay gap is non-existent in the UK and US.

So, does this mean that Brainlabs is simply going along with the common train of thought that a patriarchal hierarchy and institutional sexism are to blame rather than actually looking at the facts, and if so, why is it happy to do so?

The crux of the matter, disappointingly, may be that Brainlabs is also a marketing company and many of its “pinkwashed” corporate clients will view its efforts to close the wage gap as appealing and progressive, thus potentially winning it more business.

A clever marketing exercise it may be, but for those hoping to see companies making a real effort towards securing gender equality it doesn’t quite make a chip in that glass ceiling.

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