One year ago, our industry was forced to grasp the nettle. Unsurprisingly, it caused us initial pain, but it was necessary.
Reporting our too-wide gender pay gaps had the immediate effect of our industry vocally accepting that change is overdue.
Across GVA, we enthusiastically set about transforming the way we attracted, developed and retained women at all stages of their career.
Improving the support we provide to working families has been one of our highest priorities: the pinnacle of our effort during the year was the introduction of our new maternity policy on 1 January 2019 – which has seen us become the first property firm to financially enable new mums to take a full year of paid maternity leave. This will have a tangible impact on the daily lives of working families, and will encourage women to build their careers with us, safe in the knowledge that they are valued and supported.
We have also increased our Smart Working capabilities, so that our people can choose how, where and when to work. Our policy acknowledges how increasingly difficult it is to separate work and personal commitments into distinct time slots. We simply provide people with the tools to balance their daily commitments.
These initiatives, and others that we are working on, are aimed at ensuring we are providing an environment where talented people regardless of background or gender can thrive throughout their whole careers.
This, our second gender pay gap report, is not a piece of necessary administration. It’s how we hold ourselves accountable and tell our staff, present and future, how we are continuing to make the business better and stronger for them.
I was genuinely excited to open what I called our end of year school report, to find out how much we have managed to move the needle 12 months on.
However, (and like many others in my position, I suspect), I felt disappointment when I received the numbers reflecting our progress in this area. While the dial has moved, it’s not quite as far as I had hoped, and again, it struck me how far our industry has to go. We are all playing the long game, and need to keep plugging away at this, month after month, year after year.
A year ago, I said that we have crossed the Rubicon, and I stand by this. There’s no going back, and we will continue to focus on creating an environment where the most talented people in our industry want to work.