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People Matter September 2017

The gender pension gap is worse than the pay gap

Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that women are 80% more likely to experience poverty by age 65 than men. A big reason for this is the gender pension gap. Reported in the Irish Times to be 37%, it is two-and-a-half times greater than the gender pay gap, which stands at 14.1%.

Like the gender pay gap there are some identifiable reasons for it, although they should not be seen as justification: Things like career breaks to care for children, staying at home full-stop to run a household, and a greater propensity to take part-time work.

Other factors elaborate the traditional narrative of the gender pay gap. For example, women tend to be more risk averse. Research suggests this plays out in smaller pension contributions by those women who choose to save, and also more conservative investment choices which don’t offer the same potential for growth.

Sectors in which women fare particularly badly include hospitality, retail and wholesale where between approximately 60-80% of women (aged 45-54) do not have a pension. The education sector presents a more positive picture with three out of four women in the 45-54 age cohort having pensions.

So where do employers fit into this? First off, you should ensure you comply with equality legislation. Pensions should be available to people equally, regardless of gender or other protected characteristics. Employers who are proactively addressing the gender pay gap, would do well to factor pensions into their initiatives.

Going beyond this, good employers may wish to invest in better financial education to ensure women understand the importance of pensions. This includes the different options available to them, and the trade-off between risk and reward in an investment context.

A good company pension scheme can be a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining talent. If you offer such a scheme, ensure the benefits are communicated to your whole workforce to ensure you get maximum advantage from it.


How to attract out-of-town talent

Finding the right person for the job can be far from easy. Sometimes casting a wider geographical net may be the answer. But persuading someone to relocate isn’t exactly simple. So here are a few tips and considerations.

When advertising the job, think what someone far away would really like to know. There’ll want an idea of more than just the job description and remuneration. If someone’s going to up sticks for you, among other things they’re going to want to get a real insight into your company culture.

So make sure this is communicated and shown off from the beginning. Technology can be your friend here – you could consider employee video testimonials and behind-the-scenes footage of your organisation.

They’ll need to be assured that the change of scene is worthwhile. So highlight the benefits of your location. If your office is based in an urban centre, describe the hive of activity.

Or if you’re a countryside business, make a point of the tranquillity and beautiful surroundings. Always include the local schooling and culture. Wherever you are based, utilise current staff – they can share their favourite eateries or walks and help you paint an attractive picture.

Digital media makes it easier than ever to promote positions far and wide so ensure you use its leverage to the full. But also, especially for key hires, don’t forget traditional methods of recruitment.

Even face-to-face networking at key industry events can be a great opportunity for finding the right talent. What better way to show your commitment than by actually going out there to meet the right person.


Internships: A millennial could be your social media star

You may have seen that beleaguered UK train company Southern Rail made headlines in July by delegating their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student. Although the thought might have some senior managers palpitating, the student’s witty responses and endearing charm worked wonders for Southern Rail’s reputation.

Many companies rely on a strong social media presence to stay relevant. This task can lend itself to social media-savvy millennials who’ve grown up as digital natives. However, it’s important to define strategies to make sure social media activity is aligned to your business, and offer training. A social media policy is also essential to set out what is and isn’t acceptable when representing the company and offer guidelines on tone of voice and messaging.

For a social media policy or advice on managing interns, contact The HR Dept.


How good is your onboarding?

According to some sources, a total of €30 billion is lost annually in the UK and US on unproductive employees who don’t understand their job. We’re certain it’s no different in Ireland either. Our online search found plenty of bad examples.

We came across one lady describing how, when she arrived at her desk on her first day, she was immediately told to visit HR to sort out paperwork… in a different building. When she got there, they didn’t even have her name on file!

One employee stated how they were escorted to their desk without being introduced to anyone or shown around. Another described an onboarding session consisting of the owner talking non-stop about themselves – for eight hours.

For a meaningful employer-employee relationship, it’s important to take time to settle new starters. And don’t forget to tell them what their job is!


The best tech firms to work for in Ireland

Careers website Glassdoor has declared social media giant Facebook to be the best tech firm to work for in Ireland.

96% of reviewers would recommend working at Facebook – HubSpot was a close second with 94%. Facebook is well known for being at the forefront of progressive HR policies, which include generous benefits like four months of paid paternity leave –not to mention free food!

Word of mouth is a valuable part of your company’s reputation as an employer. Having your employees vouch for your company can be a powerful recruitment tool. And offering generous perks and benefits can certainly attract top talent to your business – and keep them.


Preparing for seasonal workers

Christmas may be some way off, but it’s important to plan ahead – no, we’re not talking about ordering your turkey or planning the Secret Santa!

If your sector experiences a Christmas surge of business, it’s wise to consider your seasonal staffing requirements now.

Alongside getting ahead of the game by sourcing staff early, it will give you the chance to do it properly.

This includes a robust recruitment process, employment contracts and understanding and communicating the rights and benefits they have – these are generally the same as for permanent staff.

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