We are proud of the UAE’s lead amongst Arab countries in closing the gender pay gap. As with companies all over the world, pay gaps still exist. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. It may have pushed progress on closing the gap back by an extra 36 years. This is primarily due to many women were forced to take on the equivalent of a full-time job – by staying at home in unpaid domestic work.

It not only added to their burden but reinforced implicit biases about men’s and women’s roles in domestic duties. A Women In The Workplace Study found that women were more likely than men to have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic.

To create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, diversity is essential. The effects of the pandemic and gender disparity are a threat to that diversity.

 

Changing how we address domestic responsibilities

One lesson of the pandemic is that women are still more affected than men by domestic responsibilities. And this comes in a region where maids and nannies are common.

To provide women equal opportunity in the workplace, someone needs to provide support for them at home.

Companies can provide services such as on-site childcare, enhanced maternity/paternity leave and flexible working conditions. So often, it’s the mother who has to take time off when their child is sick. Family-friendly initiatives support, in particular, women to continue their work and contribute to the success of the organisation.

 

Addressing unconscious bias

Unconscious or implicit bias exists for everyone, even people making an effort to overcome it. But it has likely also been woven into your company’s policies and processes.

Consider doing a full evaluation of your HR policies and procedures to eliminate unconscious bias. Start by how you phrase your job descriptions and continue to your total rewards offerings. Consult an expert HR agency to audit your policies and procedures for implicit bias.

Your company can provide training for its employees to raise awareness of unconscious bias. Together with Thenji Moyo from Gately Legal LLC, we offer customised in-house training for your team.

Actively seek out female talent in the workplace to cultivate that talent. Set your company apart from the competition and tap into an underserviced talent pool.

 

Don’t base pay on salary history

Since women are already statistically likely to make less than they deserve, don’t base pay on their salary history. It is an inherently unfair practice.

HR leaders can work towards creating transparent, unbiased job descriptions with standardised job worth hierarchies and salary structures.

Consider running annual pay equity analyses and reviewing pay practices and HR policies. If you are uncertain, outsource this task to a reliable HR agency and use their expertise to set yourself up as a (future) market leader.

 

Go the extra mile

The great news is that the UAE is actively leading in closing the pay gaps. Within your company, you have the power to counteract the effects of the pandemic on widening that gap.

Gender pay parity can occur but only with the conscious efforts of company leaders. Don’t you want to lead with the best people? Offer outstanding HR services which doesn’t have to cost much. Contact us today to find out how we can support you becoming a great company to work for.