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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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We operate in more than 50 countries around the world. If your country is not on the list, please refer to our global contacts.

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Gender Pay Report – what does it mean for ISS?

Stephanie Hamilton, Head of People and Culture, ISS UK and Ireland looks at the recently published ISS Gender Pay Report and what it means for ISS

ISS has recently published a gender pay gap report for ISS in the UK and Ireland. 

As an ISS whitepaper and independent research has shown, diversity within the workforce is essential at all levels of the organisation in order to create a balanced outlook. 

Our overlying aim as an organisation is to continue to ensure that everyone is able to build a successful career at ISS. By working on a systematic approach to talent management, talent pipelines, visible role models and a programme of employee agile working processes, we are working to create a positive disruption to the status quo in our business. We are creating an environment where our range of services are delivered by a diverse group of people that are supported by our values of respect and honesty, where everyone is able to thrive in a diverse and inclusive culture.

In ISS there is a gender gap, but we must remember the context of the gender pay gap report. ISS is a hugely diverse and complex business with large demographic points. For example, we have more male engineers than females and these engineers are paid more than the large amount of female cleaners within our healthcare sector, who are paid less and also in general, work less hours. The report provides narrative around this and how it impacts our statistics, but it is a point that provides rationale. 

We are proud to have an Executive Board in the UK and Ireland which is 40% female and to be reporting a gender pay gap that is substantially lower than the national average and compares favourably with our competitors. This is a reflection of our commitment to deliver this ambition and to ensure that ISS remains a fair employer, with a culture that continues to embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects. 

Whilst many people discuss the need for targets and there is a lot of narrative regarding this in the press, social media and our own work areas regarding this subject, ISS encourages our Senior Managers to set their own targets to focus on the gap. It is essential that the makeup of our teams and their work tools reflect the right demographic and dynamic. 

I have encouraged our Senior Managers to consider the findings of the gender pay gap report, challenge the contents and consider the actions to be taken as we strive for a balanced and truly diverse organisation. As leaders, we are all responsible for this. Our ThinkForward@ISS strategy embodies our approach - this is not a standalone initiative. We strongly believe that the long-term success of our company depends on the balance of social, environmental and economic aspects of our business. Included in our ThinkForward@ISS strategy is an ambition to recruit from a broad talent pool, building a diverse and inclusive environment and developing and growing our people.

My own personal view on business gender quotas is represented in a blog I wrote five years ago. My view remains the same today, but I am also a champion for change and passionate about ensuring that teams are diverse. I see that answering this complex question with a simple tone dialogue based on quotas is reducing the discussion and it is a fact that in some areas, we are still suspicious about women or women who have had children and people can be negative towards their commitment levels because of this, but we don’t always describe the same feelings towards men. 

To support our business, our People and Culture team offers diversity data and workshops and training. We also offer talent workshops, career fairs and collateral to help. 

What are the underlying causes of the gender pay gap?

Across the UK economy as a whole, men are more likely than women to be in senior roles (especially in very senior roles at the top of organisations) and more likely to be in technical roles, which attract higher rates of pay than other roles at similar levels of seniority. Conversely, women are more likely than men to be in frontline roles at the lower end of the organisation including within the ‘five Cs’ occupations (catering, clerical, cleaning, caring and cashiering). 

Women are also more likely than men to have had breaks from work that have affected their career progression and are also more likely to work part time, with many of the part time jobs that are available across the UK being relatively low paid.

This pattern from the UK economy as a whole is reflected in the make-up of ISS’ workforce, where the majority of frontline positions such as cleaning and catering are held by women, while the majority of middle and senior manager positions and higher paid roles such as in engineering and security, positions are held by men. 

ISS is committed to the principle of equal pay, equal opportunities and fair treatment for all employees, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic and has a clear policy of paying employees equally for the same or equivalent work, regardless of their sex (or any other characteristic set out above).

What is ISS doing to address its gender pay gap?

Whilst ISS’ gender pay gap compares favourably with that of organisations across the whole UK economy and within our industry, this is not a subject about which ISS is complacent. We are committed to reducing the gap further.

However, we also recognise that our scope to act is limited in some areas - for example we have no direct control over the subjects that individuals choose to study or the career choices that they make. We recognise that men and women are multifaceted and gender is not their only identity.  

We are therefore committed to providing multifaceted solutions that will enable all of our employees to realise their full potential and ambitions.

Actions that have been identified for the future:

  • Developing and growing our lnclusivity Networks
  • Mentoring and sponsorship programmes
  • Measuring and improving the movement of talent
  • Expanding unconscious bias training and removing bias from company processes in areas of recruitment, selection, promotion, project allocation and time with senior leaders
  • Providing more visible role models of people whose personal characteristics are underrepresented
  • Providing opportunities for secondments & work experience for people whose personal characteristics are underrepresented
  • Driving apprenticeships
  • Implementation of a remuneration committee

We are serious about these issues in ISS and continue to work hard to ensure a working environment that provides opportunities for everyone. 

Stephanie joined a recent roundtable on pay and gender, read the report from the event here.

Read the ISS Gender Pay Report here.

Find out more...


...on how ISS strives to create a home for its employees.

Stephanie Hamilton, People and Culture Director - ISS UK and Ireland

Email Stephanie