Behind the Curtain: Gender Pay Gap Evolutions at Figures

June 5, 2024
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Behind the Curtain: Gender Pay Gap Evolutions at Figures

With the implementation of the EU pay transparency directive just around the corner, the gender pay gap is on all of our minds right now. 

And, since we preach a lot about transparency at Figures, we thought it would only be fair to give you a peek under the hood and talk about our own gender pay gap and how it’s evolved over the past year. 

To get the lowdown, we caught up with Agnès Chauvigny, our VP People and internal HR expert extraordinaire — read on to find out what’s been going on behind the scenes at Figures. 

Why we track our gender pay gap 

As things currently stand, Figures isn’t legally required to track or report its gender pay gap. So, why bother? 

Well, for one thing, it would be slightly hypocritical of us to talk at length about why other companies should care about their gender pay gap if we didn’t know what ours looked like. 

“Even if it’s not mandatory, it’s still interesting to look at it and make sure that we’re doing things right,” Agnès said. 

Of course, an added benefit of this proactive approach is that if the law ever does require French companies of our size to report on their gender pay gap, we’ll be ready. 

What is the gender pay gap at Figures? 

So, let’s get into it: what is the gender pay gap at Figures, and how has it changed over time?

When we first started measuring, we found that we had a gender pay gap of 5.7% (in favour of women). As a general rule, we consider companies with a gender pay gap of 5% or less to be doing pretty well — so this was already a decent starting point.

But we’ve done a lot of work since then, including implementing a structured process for compensation reviews (more on this in a moment). And this hard work has paid off: we’re super excited to share that, as of January this year, our pay gap is now a teeny tiny 1% (in favour of men). 

Yes, you read that right: one percent! 

Pretty impressive! How did you achieve those results? 

First of all, we should note that our compensation structure at Figures has always been pretty decent — we couldn’t look our customers in the eye if it wasn’t.

“Overall, even if our process wasn’t necessarily that structured, what we were doing was really good,” Agnès told us. 

“When we hire someone, we look at their expected performance and their expected level. We never take gender into account, of course, but we also try as much as possible not to take into account the person’s past experiences or past compensation. I think that’s something that’s really helped us.”

And when it comes to salary increases? We reviewed every employee’s salary once a year, and based any increases on performance ratings and market data. But this wasn’t a perfect system: 

“It was done at the time of the contract anniversary, so it was done individually,” Agnès said. “That means that decisions were not necessarily linked to each other, and they weren’t linked to a budget.”

As our company grew, we knew we needed to start practising what we preach by putting in place a solid compensation review process. 

So, that’s what we did: we put together a comprehensive process for compensation reviews that uses the same methodology, at the same time, for the whole organisation. Going forward, we’ll run these reviews twice a year, in May and November. 

During our first compensation review, we adjusted salaries for anyone who was lagging — and also slowed down increases for people whose salaries had risen above our desired positioning.

And — hey presto! — our gender pay gap all but disappeared.

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So… is it a good thing to go from a pay gap in favour of women to a pay gap in favour of men? 

When we talk about the gender pay gap, we’re usually talking about men getting paid more on average than women. But at Figures, we’re in a slightly unusual position in that we previously had a gender pay gap in favour of women

So is it a good thing to go from there to having a pay gap in favour of men — albeit a much smaller one? 

According to Agnès, yes: 

“I think the important thing is that it’s a problem if you have a big gap,” she told us. “As long as we’re reducing it, I think it’s OK that it's switched from being in favour of women to being in favour of men.”

Here’s the thing: while a pay gap of 0% is obviously the ideal situation, this isn’t always realistic. In smaller organisations (like Figures) just a handful of employees can skew the balance one way or the other, so it’s normal to be off by a few percent. 

In our view, as long as our gender pay gap is as small as possible, it doesn’t much matter which way it leans — and we’re sure you’d agree that a pay gap of 1% is pretty small indeed!

What’s the plan for the future? 

Going forward, we’ll continue to run structured compensation reviews twice a year, and stay mindful of our gender pay gap. 

“To be honest, if we manage to maintain it at 1%, I’ll be super happy,” Agnès said. “Right now, our plans are to monitor it and to keep using the same processes — because apparently they’re working!”.

Something else that will help us (as well as our clients) is our new compensation review module, set to launch in March 2024. 

“This will help us to monitor the gender pay gap while we do our comp review,” Agnès said, “So I’m pretty sure that for the next cycle, it will be even easier.”

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What about this EU directive we keep hearing about? 

Of course, we can’t talk about compensation in 2024 without mentioning the EU pay transparency directive, which is currently being rolled out in all 27 member states. We asked Agnès what will change at Figures once the directive has been transposed into national law in France. 

“Right now our situation is OK, because we’ve been anticipating most of the rules that will come up with the directive. We’re already pretty transparent, we already have a structured process, and our pay gap is now OK too,” she explained. 

“I think the main change will be that we will start monitoring more things. Before, we had a structure to make good decisions, but we were not necessarily monitoring everything. So now we’ll have a proper dashboard to monitor everything that will have to be monitored.”

How can other companies close their gender pay gaps? 

Our answer probably won’t surprise you: by using Figures, of course! 

Our platform gives you all the data and insights you need to build a fair, scalable compensation structure — and beat the gender pay gap. 

You’ll be able to create salary bands for your whole organisation in minutes, and get analytics on your gender pay gap within each band at a glance. When it comes to running your compensation reviews, you’ll be able to track and record every decision, bringing accountability and fairness into your process. 

Plus, Figures can also help you with monitoring your gender pay gap and other metrics that you need to keep an eye on — crucial in the context of the EU pay transparency directive. 

Want to learn more about how Figures can help you close your gender pay gap and drive fair, equitable compensation? Book a free demo to see it in action. 

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