Why publishing your pay ratio could be good for your reputation

Any mooted change in legislation sends alarm bells ringing if you’re a small business owner – not least in terms of the extra red tape and admin that’s likely to ensue. And then there’s the worry of staying compliant and filing everything correctly and on time. But while pay ratios might seem like just another beauracratic hoop to jump through alongside the likes of auto-enrolment and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), there is some benefit to be gained.

Yes, employment law experts in-the-know will argue that publishing pay ratios will have little or no effect on pay disparity and that the fat cats have been getting fatter for years with no intention of stopping now.  But while this may be true (and hopefully it’s not), just about anything can be turned into a PR opportunity – and the proposed corporate governance reforms are no exception.

If nothing else, good (fair and ethical) employers should see the proposed new measures set out by Business Secretary Greg Clark as potential for some good PR. In fact, the roll-out of new UK laws which will force listed companies to reveal the pay ratio between their bosses and workers could earn you and your business some serious bragging rights.

If you’re a fair employer – and perhaps even a National Living Wage employer that’s passionate about fair and equal pay – getting ahead of the game and publishing your pay ratios before any legislation is passed can speak volumes about your business and its values.

At the very least, becoming an early-adopter of legislation which promotes transparency and equal pay will help to position your firm as a go-to employer and even give you the competitive edge when it comes to recruiting top talent. It can also help to raise your business profile – if you get in there first before every man and his dog is doing it.

Being transparent and offering your figures willingly will show you have your workers’ best interests at heart and help to build stakeholder trust – strengthening both your brand and on and offline reputation.

And even if your pay ratios could do with a little rebalancing, reviewing them ahead of any regulatory demands gives you the chance to put them right and demonstrate your credentials as a responsible employer that’s willing to change with the times.

Publish the figures and get published for all your good work. You have nothing to lose.