woman looking pensive

The UK’s gender pay gap reporting deadline was on April 4th, and early analysis paints a disappointing picture, writes By Darius Coveney, CFO/COO, Fluent Commerce.

Women are still paid less than men at four out of five employers – and the median gender pay gap remains at 9.4%, the same level as five years ago.

Clearly, despite greater awareness of the issue in recent years, organisations still have a long way to go. So what practical actions should they be taking to actually be taking? Here are five steps to help eliminate the gender pay gap:

Tip one: Review your current compensation process

In order to make progress, it’s vital that organisations first collect the data and assess their current gender pay gap. If this is an uncomfortable exercise, good! That’s how we get better. They should then thoroughly review all salaries. For example, at Fluent Commerce we started a process of ‘remuneration leveling’ in July 2021. Personal details are removed from the system, so the HR team doesn’t know whether a person identifies themselves as male or female. Salaries are then compared to others in similar roles in their respective countries, which has resulted in ‘levelling up’ a number of people in roles, across the US, Europe and Australia. This process happens twice a year and in 2022, 22% of women had an increase in level/promotion.

Tip two: Introduce a top notch parental leave policy

In the UK, women are entitled to 39 weeks of paid maternity leave – however, much of this is on significantly reduced pay. Organisations therefore need to ensure that they have top notch parental leave policies to supplement this, and that they offer strong support to ensure women are easily able to transition back to the workplace at the end of their leave.

At Fluent Commerce, we’ve implemented paid parental leave (gender neutral) on full salary up to 13 weeks in addition to government funded parental leave. Paid parental leave for a secondary carer (gender neutral) is provided at full salary up to 6 weeks and Super contributions are paid for all staff on parental leave.

Tip three: Create a DEIB Group

Another key action organisations should take is setting up a DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging) Group. At Fluent Commerce, we formed one to address equality on all levels, whether that be the treatment of women during the hiring process, during their work at Fluent Commerce or their remuneration in relation to their male peers.

The DEIB group is also tasked with creating a safe environment to discuss topics such as Identity and appropriate Labelling.

Tip four: Look for support from outside organisations

Look for opportunities to align your organisation with others that empower women. They can provide clear guidance and structures, which will give your business something to work towards. For example, Fluent Commerce achieved its Work180 status as an endorsed employer in 2022, an online platform that confirms an organisation’s due diligence in empowering women in the workplace.

We also signed the ‘Women in MACH manifesto’ for gender equality, which was collectively developed by over 100 women in technology and a select few male allies attending the first-ever international Women in MACH event in September 2022.

Tip five: Time for training

One of the biggest factors that reinforces the pay gap is unintentional bias in the selection and recruitment process. Therefore, the way that applicants are judged needs to be carefully examined to ensure all are treated in the same way.

At Fluent Commerce, we’ve ensured that ‘inclusive hiring’ and ‘unconscious bias’ training is provided to all hiring managers and we have at least one woman involved in each hiring process, not matter which role. Some companies choose to remove names and genders from applications before reviewing them. This helps level the playing field and ensures applicants are judged only on their skills and experience.

Looking to the future

 The gender pay gap will not come down unless we all take responsibility to reduce it. As a relatively small company (175 staff), we’ve implemented a number of changes to our processes to eliminate the gender pay gap, but we’ve still got more work to do. So, let’s make 2023 the year that we all stop paying ‘lip service’ to Women’s Equality, and start taking real action. Employers need to step up and pay women what they’re worth – the same as men.

About the author: Darius Coveney, CFO/COO, Fluent Commerce


Darius Coveney is an internationally experienced finance and operations leader, having worked in organisations across Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Darius spent the first 10 years of his career in public practice, including 5 years at EY in their Entrepreneurial Services and Corporate Finance teams. Darius also spent time at Macquarie Group, holding various roles in Sydney, Hong Kong, New York and London over a period of 10 years, being promoted to the level of Division Director before the age of 35. Since leaving Macquarie in 2013, Darius has worked as the CEO, COO and/or CFO for various listed and unlisted technology driven companies, where he has been responsible for strategy, funding, M&A, operations, HR and reporting. Darius holds a BCom and a Masters of Applied Finance, and is a member of CAANZ and GAICD.