At Verastar we recognise that, now more than ever, there is a strong call to progress gender equality. For us and our customers, this means uniting and motivating businesses, communities and industries to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Which is why on International Women’s Day (March 8) we’re sharing our progress on gender pay and equality – and looking to the future.
Verastar gender pay gap better than national average
The 2017 Verastar Gender Pay Gap Report, launched this week, shows that we have a median gender pay gap of 7.5%, which is much better than the national average of 18.1%.
A gender pay gap does not mean different pay for the same role. In our case the gap reflects that of a traditionally male business, with a workforce of 61% male and 39% female employees, resulting in more men working within higher paid roles. A figure of 7.5% is therefore impressive, but supported by the number of women now in senior positions within the company.
Nicola Smith, Chief Commercial Officer, says that she has never encountered discrimination in the business environment, but she does acknowledge that in some industries women have found it difficult to progress:
“The obligation to report on gender pay gaps is a great initiative that should encourage employers to take steps to reduce or eliminate their gender pay gaps and recognise the valuable contribution women can make to business.”
“In 2018 it’s hard to understand that there are still prejudices that stop women from achieving their full potential. Some companies are missing out on the benefits of having diversity at all levels. Women in business are more likely to approach problem solving from different perspectives and may be more empathetic in their business interactions. Mutually beneficial relationships are a key part business success.”
“At Verastar, we are a next generation service provider, wholly committed to equality. Operating in a traditionally male-based utilities and business service market, Verastar seeks to challenge and break down boundaries both within the marketplace and the workforce.”
“By challenging the traditional utilities and service provider market dynamics, and being more reflective of our customers and society, we aim to employ the best people for each role, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or personal beliefs.”
Board level gender equality
We’re also proud of the fact that 35% of our Senior Leadership team are women, demonstrating that the right person will succeed in any role and commitment to equality including gender pay.
From our Chief Commercial Officer to our Customer Relations Director, Chief Marketing Officer and HR Director to Head of Legal, we’re leading the way in gender equality especially within the utilities market as business service providers to SMEs. And we are building on it.
What have we already done to address any gender bias?
For us it’s as much about equal pay as it is all the other important stuff:
- Fixed starting salaries – for most roles to minimise the impact of any gender bias at job offer
- Pay progression frameworks – enabling employees to increase their salary as they develop their skills within structured salary bands
- Fixed and flexible working patterns – all employees work either fixed or flexible working patterns, including no evenings and minimal weekend working and a new part-time shift pattern in call centres to offer greater flexibility
- Increasing contractual holiday entitlement – for all job roles and a buy and sell holiday scheme to increase flexibility
- More women in senior roles – 35% of the senior leadership team are now women, increasing by 5% since 2015
What are we doing next?
Our four-point plan is:
- Incorporating a gender analysis tool into our annual pay process – to increase manager visibility of their team’s gender pay so we can continue to reduce that gap
- Promote our existing policies much wider – such as flexible working and shared parental leave
- Embed our pay progression reward framework to ensure we’re rewarding employees fairly
- Supporting employees to succeed and grow into more senior positions by launching several initiatives including: ILM accredited management development training programmes, talent programmes and clear and consistent entry and assessment criteria for career development activities
Chris Earle, CEO, adds: “We have always focused on recruiting the best people, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or personal beliefs for our available roles and as a result we are confident that men and women are paid on equal terms for doing the same job across the business. We will continue to champion and proudly lead the way on equality.”