The Media Company That Turned The Gender Pay Gap On Its Head

Article by Golin

Whilst working with clients representing hundreds of thousands of employees, Gapsquare has heard a wide range of gender pay gap statistics and seen every shade of response to the regulations you can imagine. Which is why it’s truly refreshing when we come across a company who have taken the regulations into their own hands. Some companies report more than the necessary data, law firms reporting on partner pay and organisations reporting their ethnicity pay gap, some have really excellent communication strategies around the pay gap – but even better than this are the companies who are not only voluntarily reporting their gender pay gap numbers, but publish a very small pay gap.

Golin have been proactive and engaged in reporting their (median) pay gap of -4.62% (with women earning more than men on average) and share in this interview their motivations for creating an inclusive and gender balanced workplace, for working towards pay transparency and how this appeals to current and future talent.

What do you think is important to the people in your workplace?

“We want our people to know that they will be compensated according to their skills and expertise, not their gender, life decisions, background or ethnicity. The main benefit of GPG reporting is that we can now demonstrably show that we have gender parity. This has already been great for business – it’s a source of pride for the team, it helps us attract top hires from a wider pool of talent and more and more clients want to know they are working with ethical and diverse teams.”

How did your company approach the pay gap initially and has anything changed since then?

“Reporting is not a legal requirement for Golin (with less than the required 250 employees), but the agency decided to voluntarily report its gender pay gap data as part of its commitment to championing women and diversity in the industry. We are passionate and vocal about creating a progressive agency, so this was a great way to support our message. Naturally, it is also the right thing to do.

Our decision to announce our Gender Pay Gap was driven from the top, so we didn’t face the barriers that others may face. We also had a good news story for the agency, as our pay gap in favour of women was a great story to tell.”

What is unique about how you are tackling the pay gap? 

“At Golin we pride ourselves on creating a culture that allows women to thrive in their careers. In the last three years we have encouraged more women to take on senior leadership roles in our agency and the wider industry. Our leadership team is now made up of 64% women, which is representative of the number of women entering the industry at junior levels.

Our flexible working policy has helped 100% of our mums return to us from maternity leave, our work with the Back2Businessship programme for career break women has helped 75 parents get back to work and our industry-leading family policies are helping more mums and dads share the care. We also have enhanced family friendly benefits and maternity mentoring.

This action has helped us reach an overall -3% gender pay gap figure that is in favour of women, as the majority of people in the most senior roles in the agency are women. According to The Drum, an industry website, “Golin was the only agency [included in their analysis] to report a gender pay gap in favour of women.”

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Do you think that your approach to the pay gap has any impact on potential employees? 

“It’s certainly something that potential employees are impressed by and have remarked on. In terms of recruitment practices, we only work with recruiters who provide diverse candidate lists, including BAME candidates; flexible workers and returners. We now advertise all new roles as open to flexible hours and have replaced the interview question “what is your current salary?” with “what are your salary expectations?” to ensure we are closing the gap for women.”

We have replaced the interview question “what is your current salary?” with “what are your salary expectations?”

Closing the gap: What, in your view, still needs to be done, in your company and in the industry as a whole?

“We are looking at three new avenues, increasing uptake of shared parental leave and supporting the campaigning by the Fawcett Society to improve shared parental leave, delivering unconscious bias training and ensuring we have women’s leadership coaching in place.

Employers should see this as an opportunity to put right a historical wrong and present themselves as a progressive employer. Remember, most organisations will face a problematic pay gap but it’s how you demonstrate meaningful progress that matters.

Those not making an effort to address this will find themselves in an increasingly vulnerable position. Handled well and with the right measures in place to address even the most significant pay gap, employers can build stronger relationships across their organisations, shape their reputation for the better and make themselves more attractive to the best talent.”

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About Golin:

“We are an integrated agency with PR, Digital and Content at our core. Our ambition is to create change through brave, relevant work worthy of awe, action and awards. By embracing new technologies and pushing creative boundaries, we help our clients adapt and win in a constantly evolving world.

We are committed to delivering the deepest insights, boldest ideas and broadest engagement to the world’s leading brands through seamless integrated communications.

We’re the nice guys who kick ass.”