Closing the Gender Pay Gap: a challenge that matters.

Wendy Warham
By , - Responsible Business

The business strategy for Fujitsu is focused on Customers, Employees, Growth and being a Responsible Business. This strategy requires Fujitsu to be agile, staying ahead of our competitors in every aspect of business.

As Head of Networks and Telecoms for EMEIA, I have to focus on building a team that will deliver on our sales targets. I need to be able to attract, include and retain the best talent. When I am selling to customers, I am selling more than the digital solution. I am selling our brand values and our great employees.

Gender Pay Gap Challenges

One issue that directly impacts our ability to attract and retain female talent and our brand reputation is our approach to fairness.

Today we are announcing our Gender Pay Gap of 17.9%

I am the Executive Sponsor to our Women’s Business Network, so I am acutely aware that the UK gender pay gap is 18.1% against an IT industry figure of 25%. Fujitsu is faring a little better – but it still makes uncomfortable reading for me – and I know that my colleagues will also be concerned.

I am concerned that women, when they see that Fujitsu has a gender pay gap, will think we are not a fair employer. I want to be able to articulate this issue honestly and with transparency to my customers and colleagues.

This is my approach to the truths about why the gender pay gap exists in Fujitsu.

The industrial history of our society is complex, the impact of family structures and needs and our collective unconscious bias all add to the gender pay gap.

Add into the mix the impact of digital and new work expectations from millennials and we can easily identify the urgent drivers to close the gap.

  • We know that types of work in the past have experienced gender segregation, with women being under-represented in some careers. This is even more pronounced in the Tech sector, which is currently heavily male dominated.
  • The feeder routes to move the dial on this gender imbalance in IT are creating a barrier that prevents faster change. Less than 16% of IT graduates were women in 2016. Unless we get more girls into STEM subjects the talent pool will continue to fail our future needs.
  • It is fact that married women earn 31% less than married men. Women have traditionally taken on family caring roles, sometimes taking long career breaks from which it is hard to recover the earnings gap.
  • Discretionary pay can also be a barrier to women achieving gender pay parity. Women traditionally negotiate pay rises and bonuses differently from male colleagues, and this can result in women being penalized. Women in the tech sector are likely to earn 20% less in terms of bonuses.
  • Promotion and career progression also impact on the gender pay gap, especially if men take the majority of higher management positions and women become concentrated in lower paid roles.

All of the above reasons have an impact, with differing degrees in different countries. I am clear that there is not one single over-riding reason why the gender pay gap exists in Fujitsu. I am equally clear that addressing the gender pay gap is a challenging issue. It’s not just a question of paying women more and men less: we have to attract female talent into all positions; we have to nurture and grow that talent and create a more diverse team. This process will take time – it’s not a quick fix that can be dealt with in one year.

Taking action

I have always been proud of Fujitsu’s commitment to ‘winning the right way’, as we set out during our tenure as BITC Responsible Business of the Year in 2015/16. More recently, Fujitsu has made a global commitment to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. This commitment feeds into our determination to address the under-representation of women and the gender pay gap, both within our business and the wider tech sector.

I welcome this analysis of our gender pay gap, and see it as a positive tool in progressing our Diversity and Inclusion approach.

The answer to the question “what are we doing to close the gap?” is that we are not ignoring the challenge: we are aware of the issues and we have a clear plan of action. We have chosen to be very transparent about the gender pay gap that exists within Fujitsu and to be one of the first large companies to publish our gender pay gap. What we are doing is working with partners in the education sector, engaging stakeholders and key influencers and involving our own women colleagues in building our solutions.

Our solutions are clearly focused on practical action to help reduce the hierarchical impact and occupational segregation. As a result, I expect to see a reduction in the gender pay gap over the next few years.

  • Encouraging more girls to take STEM subjects
  • Inspiring more women to take a career in IT
  • Promoting flexible working practices
  • Increasing the visibility of role models and mentors
  • Creating women’s networks

Our Women’s Business Network is focused on delivering a plan that will see more women come through our talent pipeline. I want to see more support in mentoring, good take up of flexible working and a more gender balanced management structure. This is how I believe we will deliver long-term sustainable change.

Why I am optimistic

The figure that matters to me is that in 2016 women made up 45% of our graduates, with 50% of technical roles going to women. As recently as 2014, women only made up 36% of our graduate intake so this is a great improvement. I’m proud to say that we have improved once again this year: women will make up 49% of the 2017 graduate intake.

On International Women’s Day, I hugely enjoyed speaking to our Women’s Business Network on the theme of Be Bold for Change. The vigour and determination of the network’s members is truly impressive, and I know they will play a key role in helping us to achieve our ambition to be the tech company where women come to succeed. The power of this employee network is to remain a champion’s voice, a galvanizing energy to ensure the gender pay gap remains high on our leadership agenda. I am determined that we will report on progress year on year.

You can read more about how we conducted our gender pay gap in our published report.

Wendy Warham

Wendy Warham

Head of Networks and Telecoms at Fujitsu EMEIA
Wendy Warham

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