The Stitch spotlight… introducing Gapsquare

30 August 2017

Charlotte Cooper

For our latest post in the Stitch spotlight series, we sat down with Sian Webb from Gapsquare to find out more about them as a business.

Tell us about Gapsquare

“In the UK, women currently earn only 81p to every £1 earned by a man. The percentage difference is the gender pay gap and this is what Gapsquare is here to do something about. New regulations came into the UK this year that said all companies over 250 employees have to report on their gender pay gap.

Gapsquare is a cloud based software platform that provides instant insights into a company’s gender pay gap and delivers everything needed to automate compliance with the current gender equality legislation. Using HR and payroll data, Gapsquare is an easy to use service that enables companies to visualise the gender pay gaps across organisations and make data-driven decisions to narrow them.”

What sort of working backgrounds and industries do the Gapsquare team come from?

Zara Nanu, our CEO has a history of working with women’s rights, not just in organisations, but in the institutions, that make up our society. She has spent the last decade working to develop services for women, driving the changes needed to implement positive gender attitudes in the workplace. Ion has designed our platform, and his background is in artificial intelligence and machine learning, using data science to drive strategic change in organisations. As for myself, I have a mix of working both within the corporate and charitable sectors, so Gapsquare is a perfect mix – working for a business that has a socially responsible focus suits me to the ground!”

What services do you offer clients?

“Our software is self-use – it is really easy to use and intuitive, allowing organisations to take responsibility for understanding their gap and putting recommendations in place to reduce to reduce the gender pay gap moving forward. However, we also offer consultancy to clients who need additional help and support in understanding and contextualising the gender pay gap. We work with their HR and Rewards teams to put in place recommendations and initiatives to make their company more gender sensitive, and a better place for women (and men) to work, that will reduce the gender pay gap but make improve equality in the workplace.”

 When did you first become aware of the gender pay gap being an issue?

“Well, personally I was aware of the gender pay gap from a very young age. I remember my mother telling me about my grandmother fighting for equal pay back before the Equal Pay Act came in in 1970. For Gapsquare’s CEO Zara, she had always been keeping her ear to the ground with changes in the UK legislation and the conversation around gender pay gap had been gathering momentum. It was at this point she came up with the idea for Gapsquare and founded the company”.

When do you think the general population really picked up on the idea of a gender pay gap?

“Well I still think the general population has still got a long way to go to fully understand what the gender pay gap is – a lot of people even now confuse it with Equal Pay. The gender pay gap is the difference between the average men and women’s pay, whereas Equal Pay is the like for like pay for the same role. Having said that, the BBC Pay scandal has definitely brought this as an issue into the spotlight this year.”

What have been the most surprising results to be published so far?

“As someone who spends a lot of my time looking and analysing numbers and figures, not a lot surprises me these days! However, I have been surprised at the number of charities and businesses that are reporting a higher than average gender pay gap and not accompanying it with an explanation or narrative about why they have one and importantly, what they are going to do to reduce it over the coming years.”

What trends do you expect we’ll see in both gap results and improvement on those results?

“The important thing for companies to see is not the actual figure in year one, but that it is improves and reduces in years 2 and 3. It is critical therefore that they get to grips with what exactly causes the gender pay gap in the first place (which is where Gapsquare comes in!) and so that they can put in place initiatives so that it will start improving and reducing.”

What do you think is the biggest misconception about the gender pay gap?

“I mentioned this earlier – and it has to be the confusion around Equal Pay. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to explain the difference – but with every conversation comes with education and this will ultimately change people’s mindsets and raise awareness of the issue, which is the first step to eliminate it.”

How do you think companies should tackle their communications for both the public and their employees?

“Transparency is key for me. They need to not be afraid of their results, and make sure they explain what the results mean for their employees so as to avoid confusion. Secondly, they need to be showing that they are willing to tackle and do something about it, as to retain staff and ultimately attract the best talent for their company. Further, research has shown that gender and ethnically diverse companies are between 15-35% more likely to outperform their competitors so there really is an economic advantage to taking this issue seriously.” You can see our top five tips for gender pay gap communications here.

Workplace diversity is a very prominent topic at the moment – aside from gender equality, are there areas of analysis that you’re keen for companies to turn their attention to?

“So, the ethnicity pay gap is gaining a lot of traction, as those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds experience a pay gap as well as women. Theresa May has spoken about bringing in a reporting element to this too, which Gapsquare can already provide to companies. Further, the % difference in salaries between CEO’s and lowest paid staff members is something that would be great for companies to turn their attention to.”

As a company, what would you say your biggest achievement has been to date?

“We are thrilled to find out this week that we have become finalists to MIT: Solve. This is a programme by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston that looks at solving the world’s global problems. We are one of 16 companies heading to New York next month to pitch our company as a solution to one of their global problems. Keep your fingers crossed for us!”

And finally: If Gapsquare had a musical anthem, what would it be?

“That’s a hard one – there are too many to choose from!

Aretha Franklin‘s Respect has to be up there, Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls), Sia’s Unstoppable … they are some amazing, strong and powerful anthems!”