What you can do

Think Business, Think Equality

Our free, online self-assessment tool enables employers to assess their employment practice. Each test, which takes no longer than five minutes to complete, will give you a sense of how you're doing on gender equality in the workplace. The tool also provides you with a tailored action plan which helps you identify the small steps that you can take to make big difference in your organisation. Take the Think Business, Think Equality test.

The glass ceiling

Men are more likely to be found in senior management roles across all types of organisations and within all sectors. The barriers preventing women from reaching senior levels are collectively known as the 'glass ceiling.'

Several factors underpin the glass ceiling, including women’s disproportionate responsibility for caring for children, sick people, and older people; organisational cultures which esteem and reward stereotypically male attributes; inflexibility in working arrangements for employees operating at senior level; and stereotypical assumptions about women’s capabilities and talents.

Close the Gap works with employers to identify specific factors contributing to the glass ceiling within your organisation. We recommend that employers consider the impact of the following on women within their organisation.

  1. Recruitment. How are posts advertised and recruited for?
  2. Networking. Do external and internal networking opportunities exist for both male and female staff? Are networking events designed to appeal to a wide range of individuals?
  3. Mentoring. Do men and women have equal access to formal or informal mentoring opportunities?
  4. Culture. Does your organisation have a long hours culture or a culture of presenteeism? Are senior posts available on a part-time or flexible basis?
  5. Appraisal. Do appraisal processes value stereotypically female attributes as well as stereotypically male attributes?
  6. Stereotyping. What attitudes are held about women employees with children?

Close the Gap can work with employees in your organisation to identify specific barriers preventing women from attaining senior roles. To discuss how we can help your business please contact us.

Equal pay review

Employers are responsible for providing equal pay and ensuring that pay systems are transparent. Pay arrangements are frequently complicated and the features that can give rise to sex discrimination are not always obvious.

An equal pay review, also known as an equal pay audit, is the best way of ensuring that pay systems are fair and transparent. Equal pay reviews involve three key activities, regardless of the method used, or the size of the organisation.

  • Comparing the pay of men and women doing equal work. Employers need to check for like work; work rated as equivalent; work of equal value
  • Identifying any pay gaps
  • Eliminating the gaps that cannot satisfactorily be explained on grounds other than sex
The equal pay review model recommended by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is in five steps:
  1. Deciding the scope of the review and identifying the data required
  2. Identifying where men and women are doing equal work
  3. Collecting and comparing pay data to identify any significant equal pay gaps
  4. Establishing the causes of any significant pay gaps and assessing the justifications for these
  5. Developing an equal pay action plan for reviewing and monitoring

The EHRC provides detailed equal pay review (audit) toolkit for employers.

Job evaluation

One of the most important things to get right when carrying out an equal pay review (audit) is Step 2, which identifies jobs involving similar levels of skill, knowledge, effort and responsibility. Jobs such as these are known as work of equal value.

The scheme or method used to identify these jobs should be analytical, and it should be free from sex bias. This means that it should not unfairly favour stereotypically male or female jobs.

Other resources

Research by Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that three out of four pregnant women or women on or returning from maternity leave had negative or discriminatory experiences at work. The Commission has produced a toolkit for employers to support them in managing an employee who is pregnant or on maternity leave and help you avoid costly tribunal claims.

A lack of flexible working is a key cause of the lower levels of women in senior positions, and therefore the gender pay gap. Family Friendly Working Scotland has a developed a strapline and logo for employers which can be used to job adverts. By being Happy to Talk Flexible Working you will be able to recruit from a wider pool of talent and skills.

Related publications

Close the Gap response to the Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern EconomyClose the Gap response to the Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy

Gender Budget Analysis ToolGender Budget Analysis Tool This gender budget analysis tool was developed as part of a research project with Women in Scotland's Economy (WiSE) research centre.

Gender Budget Analysis: Case StudyGender Budget Analysis: Case Study This case study was developed as part of a research project with Women in Scotland's Economy (WiSE) research centre.

Gender Equality Pays: The economic case for addressing women's labour market inequalityGender Equality Pays: The economic case for addressing women's labour market inequality This paper presents research into the link between gender equality and economic benefit.

Public sector equality duty: Guidance for reporting on gender and employmentPublic sector equality duty: Guidance for reporting on gender and employment This guidance provides information to help Scottish public authorities meet the public sector equality duty as it relates to gender and employment.

WiRES: What businesses can learnWiRES: What businesses can learn A publication for employers which shares the findings from Close the Gap's project on women in renewable energy.