Housing providers demand salary transparency to boost earnings for women

Leading housing associations and local councils, including Southampton City Council, responsible for around 1.2 million homes have joined forces to require contractors to publish pay rates for jobs to help tackle gender pay gaps

The move comes from social housing providers as part of efforts to raise job standards through their supply chains.

Not-for-profit housing associations and local councils that are collectively responsible for around 1.2 million homes, are using their combined influence to launch the ‘Big Six’ employer’s pledge as part of Social Value Week.

Organised by the Social Value Leadership Group (SVLG), a forum for social value leads within UK housing associations and local councils, the pledge requires contractors to advertise salary details in all adverts.

Around 4 in 10 job adverts do not provide pay information, something that experts have reported contributes to gender and ethnicity gaps. Research by The Fawcett Society has found that job adverts that do not list a salary range often mean candidates are asked their salary history when negotiating pay, with 58 per cent of women feeling they had received a lower salary offer after having to disclose their previous earnings.

The ‘Big Six’ employer’s pledge also guarantees all jobs pay at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, alongside commitments that training is linked to qualifications or a specific job. Feedback to all unsuccessful candidates will be mandated by providers, and contractors will need to show how they are offering pre-employment and in-work support for career progression, alongside offering work experience and work trials for roles where possible.

The pledge is part of a collective response from social housing providers to support efforts to secure the future of work for communities and residents following the impact of the pandemic, in addition to pre-existing barriers facing people.

Geeta Nanda OBE, G15 Chair and Chief Executive of MTVH, said:

“Social housing providers play a massive role in supporting residents into work and training, as well as providing good homes for people. Through the Big Six pledge, we will be making our collective supply chains work harder to benefit residents and communities. Key to that is making sure job adverts are transparent about salary details, which we know when missing can impact women and ethnic minority people unfairly.”

Chichi Onyenemelu, Chair of the Social Value Leadership Group and Social Value Manager at The Hyde Group, commented:

“Long before the pandemic, the communities we work with faced multiple challenges and barriers to getting well-paid jobs with development potential. In order to not lose a generation of talent and aspiration, we felt it necessary to join up practice to increase standards in the employment, training, and skilling up opportunities that we secure through Social Value.

“The Big Six employer’s pledge seeks to create a minimum standard that employers can sign up to, and will be included in tender documents that contractors will have to commitment to at tender stage, as part of their Social Value offer.”

Stuart Devine, Operations Director FM at Pinnacle, who have been trailing the commitments in the Big Six pledge, said:

“As a socially conscious and values driven business, Pinnacle is proud to support The Big Six. We want to attract and retain the best people and recognise fair compensation as one of many ways to achieve this. This pledge is part of Pinnacle’s broader commitment to our ESG framework, which is formed of four pillars; protect our planet, our people and culture, community impact and responsible business.”

The Big Six employer’s pledge:

  1. Job adverts and interviews - All job adverts should appeal to their target audience and contain location, job title, job description and salary.
  2. Training - Training should be directly linked to qualifications or a specific job.
  3. Salary - All apprentices should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age (not an apprenticeship wage) – from the day one.  All apprenticeships for those aged 23 and above AND All other jobs opportunities, should be paid at least the Real Living Wage.
  4. Feedback - Actionable feedback to every unsuccessful candidate should be provided.
  5. Pre and post-employment support - Pre-employment and in work support should be offered for every person; this should include clear career progression pathways and continuous development and learning within the first year.
  6. Work experience - Where possible work experience and work trials should be offered for job roles.