Sunday 22 July 2018

ICTU and Ibec in talks to join forces on gender pay

Meliosa O’Caoimh, managing director of Northern Trust; Carmel Jordan, COO of Mercer; Niamh McLoughlin, manager of strategic projects at Mercer; Fiona Muldoon, CEO of FBD; and Bernard Byrne, CEO of AIB, at the launch of ‘Making The Change Count’, a Study of Women in Financial Services in Ireland by the 30% Club financial services sub committee at AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Meliosa O’Caoimh, managing director of Northern Trust; Carmel Jordan, COO of Mercer; Niamh McLoughlin, manager of strategic projects at Mercer; Fiona Muldoon, CEO of FBD; and Bernard Byrne, CEO of AIB, at the launch of ‘Making The Change Count’, a Study of Women in Financial Services in Ireland by the 30% Club financial services sub committee at AIB Bankcentre in Ballsbridge in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Congress chief Patricia King

Colm Kelpie and Gretchen Friemann

Employers and trade unions are preparing to tackle gender based pay gaps, amid growing momentum on the issue.

Trade unions lobby group ICTU and business group Ibec are in talks over a possible joint approach to improving gender pay gap reporting in companies.

Union chief Patricia King said the work is focused on the development of an appropriate methodology for gender pay gap reporting, which would generate "meaningful and specific data about pay gaps".

Ms King told the Irish Independent that if both groups could find a common way forward, then it would give a greater push to Government efforts to address the issue. Yesterday, Fiona Muldoon, head of insurance group FBD, and Carmel Jordan, COO of Mercer, joined AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne and Brian McKiernan, head of Davy Stockbrokers, to lend their voices to a campaign to increase the numbers of women at senior management level in the financial services industry.

They spoke at the launch of pressure group The 30% Club's gender diversity survey, which showed female employees are woefully under-represented in the top ranks of finance firms.

Mr Byrne acknowledged men far outnumber women on his own bank's board but said "we are building towards a full gender-balanced position".

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Davy's Brian McKiernan, who also sits on a largely male board of directors, stressed "we need to engage more men" and said improving female representation at senior level could either be advanced by recruitment "targets and incentives" or, if need be, "targets and sticks".

Mercer's Carmel Jordan said it is a "leadership skill to harness the talent of your organisation". She added that as a leader you have to get the best out of all the pool of talent that is available to you. Meanwhile, proposed new laws drawn up by the Labour Party which are currently making their way through the Oireachtas include a Bill requiring companies with more than 50 employees to reveal details of any gender pay gap among its staff.

ICTU's Patricia King said discussions with Ibec are the sort of "concerted, coherent action" required to tackle the problem.

"It's an opportunity to see can we get some transparency in this," Ms King said.

"We said we would collaborate with Ibec and see could there be a meeting of minds between us and form some sort of approach. I don't know whether it's going to be possible but I think it's worth trying given the importance of the subject."

Irish Independent

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