Michele Prota
Dec 6, 2022

Putting wages on an equal footing is key to inclusion

Knowing that you are paid fairly is a critical part of the inclusion equation, Michele Prota, global chief talent officer at Forsman & Bodenfors, writes.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Money is an emotionally charged topic, fraught with rumours and jealousy. It’s uncouth to talk about it with our neighbours and unprofessional to discuss it with our colleagues.

Cracking the case on pay at work is complicated, but what was once taboo is now creeping toward mandate as legislation for equal pay gains momentum.

Fortunately, if you work at F&B, you know you are fairly compensated. Employees in similar roles are paid similarly, regardless of their identity.

After analysing pay in every F&B company and country, we identified one discipline, in one office, in one country with an unexplainable gender pay difference, which we resolved during our annual salary review cycle. Now, the data tells us there no statistical difference in how men and women are paid anywhere in the collective.

As a result, we’re the first global creative agency to be certified for our commitment to pay equity by Fair Pay Workplace, a not-for-profit organisation that supports employers and employees.

We believe that validating our efforts with an objective, third-party partner is an essential choice for instilling confidence and trust for our employees, clients, and the industry.

Without one measurement standard, any company can boast fair pay with a simple pledge that leads to a less-than-fair outcome. Fair Pay Workplace standardises the methodologies and adds transparency to an organisation’s pay equity achievements.

As part of our work with Fair Pay Workplace, we’ve made some significant commitments. We analyse global gender pay equity every year. We share the results of the pay equity analysis. We never ask applicants about previous compensation. We share salary ranges in job postings and ensure ongoing pay equity through fair pay policies.

We also regularly partner Fair Pay Workplace specialists, allowing us to validate pay decisions over time, like hiring and promotions.

The spark for this process came from our love of this industry. After all, it’s the unique and beautiful people of advertising who drive culture and change things. We believe that all of us share some common interests when it comes to work life. Don’t we all want to work in an environment with nice people, with opportunities to do meaningful work, and fair recognition for doing so?

But this industry has a gap to fill on the recognition piece, so we started with our little corner of the world to clarify this topic for F&B employees and inspire the industry to get onboard.

The feedback has been unequivocally positive, as shown through our clients' reactions and internally through the results of our latest inclusion survey. Pay equity favourability has increased 14% from 2021 to 2022, with improvements across all of the other 10 categories measured.

We never want pay to be a distraction at F&B, so this is simply our beginning. Next up, we will expand our assessment to include ethnicity alongside gender in the countries where that is possible, and then Fair Pay Workplace will review our data again in early 2023 to ensure progress and compliance.

The best place to start for new ideas to boost inclusion at work is by understanding your employees, how they feel and what they think needs changing.

Once you embrace those insights, you can invest strategically in what matters most.

Michele Prota is part of the WFA’s DEI Taskforce, which works to promote the WFA’s Charter for Change, 11 actions that can drive real change across the global industry. The Charter looks to address challenges identified in the Global DEI Census from 2021. The second DEI Census will run in March 2023 and coincide with the UK’s All In Census. To get involved reach out to [email protected]

Campaign UK

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