In honour of International Equal Pay Day on Sunday, 18th September 2022, we recently caught up with our Operations Manager, Katie Newman, on her thoughts about equality of pay within the construction industry.

Regardless of gender, our ethos at Bhangals Construction Consultants is that if you do a job well, you should be paid fairly to reflect that. Wages should represent an individual’s talents and skills, whether male or female; gender should be irrelevant.

Equal pay also provides mutual respect within a workplace. It ensures everyone feels good about entering an environment where they feel valued and remunerated, according to the work and effort they put into the business.

Construction is considered one of the worst sectors across all industries for not paying women the same as they would men – which is not a huge surprise as women only make up roughly 10-15% of the workforce. However, Katie believes you should stand up for yourself if you believe you are being undervalued at work.

In honour of Equal Pay Day, Katie said: “The stats for the overall UK average gender pay gap is still not great and equal pay, within the construction industry particularly, is definitely an issue. I personally feel the reason why the gender pay gap is such a problem in construction is due to the industry being very male-dominated.”

Also, stereotypes we’ve all grown up hearing and seeing in the media play a huge part. For example, suggesting that women are seen as the ‘weaker’ sex might result in a man being employed to work on-site with heavy machinery rather than a woman. That’s why it’s super important to break these stereotypes!

Katie also stated: “If you feel you are not being paid equally to your colleagues when you are doing the same work, you first need to analyse the facts. Consider whether there would be any justifiable reasons why your colleague would be on a higher salary than you. Are they producing a higher standard of work? Do they take on more responsibilities than you?”

“If at this stage you feel there is no explanation, I would definitely say the next step is to have a conversation with your manager, or failing this, you can go directly to your Human Resources department to raise your concerns.”

It may be that one conversation is all that’s needed to answer your questions; they may provide you with information you weren’t aware of to explain the difference in pay. If, however, the conversation with your manager does not work, you can take matters further by taking the employer to a tribunal.

There are several ways in which you can ensure equal pay for equal work in a business. Firstly, regularly reviewing employees to ensure individuals are being paid fairly based on their performance. Introduce bonus schemes for high quality and/or quantity of work and ensure everyone has the same opportunities when it comes to promotions and career growth.

Katie added: “Talk about it! Communicate! Discuss the issues that women are still facing with the gender pay gap. It’s easy to turn a blind eye if you are not directly affected, but it’s still important to talk about it. It’s also much more unlikely that women will negotiate salaries and pay rises, and when they do, they can be viewed differently, so try to encourage communication over pay in the workplace.”

“Publishing pay grades is also a great way to combat the gender pay gap as it allows staff to be paid based on performance-based factors. It also eliminates new employees being unnecessarily brought in on a much higher salary than their colleagues, as they would already have been assigned a pay grade when they joined. Pay grades can be hugely motivating as they provide a much clearer and structured path for employees by showing people exactly what is required to get to the next stage in their career.”

If you have an upcoming project and need expert construction advice to get started, get in touch with a member of our team today.