Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Michele Fellows, Director at Fellows and Associates, and is about whether taking a career break impacts on earning potential. Fellows and Associates is one of our Charter signatories.
Michele writes: We at Fellows and Associates have just gone live with the data collection phase of our 7th annual salary survey, and I thought I would delve a little deeper into something that has been nagging at me for some time. Does taking a career break negatively impact your earning potential?
We added the question of a “career break” into our 2017 survey for the first time and it is these results which I have analysed in more detail for the purposes of today’s question.
Now it may seem like the question will have an obvious answer as how could a hiatus in employment have a positive effect? Perhaps we’re all in for a surprise. Some may also think this relates solely to females given that even in this day and age of improved workplace equality and paternity rights it is still most frequently the “fairer” sex that tends to stay at home with the child(ren) for any period of time. Whilst it does bear out that of those that took a career break 70% were women, it is by no means restricted to women alone, especially when we consider that career breaks can occur for many reasons. Unemployment, sabbaticals or other personal issues that could include mental health concerns or caring for loved ones may also require one to take time away from their career. In fact, only 45% of the career breaks were due to maternity leave.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Phillipa Holland, Principal Consultant at Fellows and Associates, and is about whether disclosing salary information during recruitment impacts diversity. Fellows and Associates is one of our Charter signatories.
Phillipa writes: "Would it help equality in the workplace if previous salary information was not discussed during the recruitment process?
The traditional and most common way of determining salary for an individual applying for a role in the UK is to have a budget, then find out what an applicant is earning, then ideally pay them a bit more (or at least the same) as what their income was previously. But is this fair? Is this sensible?
Well it can be a delicate subject for some. Discussing the details of your salary with a somewhat stranger on the understanding it will help secure your position and determine what you will earn in the future can be difficult. In some cases, being open about what you earn can aid negotiation (if, for example you earn more than the suggested budget it provides useful evidence of your market worth beyond the future employer’s current understanding of market conditions). But should this be so? Does it actually benefit the candidate, or the employer, in the long run?
There is a body of opinion that revealing candidate salary history has helped reinforce the gender pay gap. If the strategy is to set a budget and then within that budget pay candidates more than their current salary, then the strategy perpetuates the gender pay gap as men are, research indicates, typically paid more than women. (Thus, the same percentage increase on salary would mean that a woman would continue to be paid less for the same role). Statistically speaking, women tend to negotiate less and, when they do, it can be viewed negatively by employers. If organisations are not given access to salary information then the issues surrounding negotiation are significantly reduced, helping positively reinforce a woman’s earning power. There is a potential positive impact with respect to ethnic minorities as well; whilst the research in terms of pay disparity is more complicated (it’s a question of both availability of equitable opportunities as well as equal pay for equal roles), disregarding salary history may help prevent salary or hiring decisions being impacted by conscious or unconscious bias.
Struggling to convince your colleagues about the importance of diversity and inclusivity (D&I)? Perhaps our latest IP Inclusive presentation will help.
Based on the outcomes from our workshop held last November, our presentation is a collection of arguments and evidence in support of committing business resources to D&I, and the resultant benefits.
We've divided the key points into four categories. Specifically, we focus on the impact that D&I can have on an organisation's:
Not surprisingly, the positive effects in these four areas will ultimately translate into greater financial health for the organisation.
You can download the presentation, either as Powerpoint slides or as a PDF, here:
These resources are free for use by IP Inclusive supporters. Please share them as widely as you can: the more people we can convince the better!
Huge thanks to the workshop attendees and tutors, in particular to the IPO's Ben Buchanan for his help in putting the presentation together.
IP Inclusive Leader
There are quite a few IP Inclusive events taking place in November:
Wednesday 8th November - unconscious bias workshop/seminar in London. For more details, see this blog post.
Thursday 9th November - an IP Out seminar in London on the options available to LGBT+ people for having children. For more details, see the IP Out page here.
Tuesday 21st November - a Women in IP seminar in London on climbing the career ladder. For more details, see the Women in IP page here.
Wednesday 29th November - workshop/seminar on the business case for diversity and inclusivity in London. The event will be hosted by Gowling WLG at 4 More London Riverside, London SE1 2AU.
This event is aimed at anyone involved in recruitment or HR, or with influence over their organisations’ EDI policies. It will include workshop-style discussions to assemble a compelling case for diversity and inclusivity, that you can take back to your own organisation to persuade colleagues on board.
Under discussion will be the impact of diversity on an organisation's internal efficiency; its talent recruitment and retention; its relationships with clients and other external stakeholders; its risk and compliance management; and its overall financial performance.
To book onto the event, see here.
Tuesday 5th December - joint CIPA, CITMA and IP Inclusive lunchtime webinar on mental health featuring Elizabeth Rimmer, the Chief Executive of LawCare. Elizabeth will talk about why mental health matters in the IP community and highlight aspects of the culture and practices of the legal professions that can compromise mental wellbeing. LawCare's support is available to all CIPA and CITMA members, and this webinar will explain the charity's role in promoting and supporting good mental health. It will also introduce some simple steps that we can all take to protect ourselves and our colleagues from mental health problems, in particular those arising from workplace stress.
This webinar is intended for all IP professionals, and may be particularly useful for new starters to the profession and for those involved in management roles.
To book, please visit the CIPA website.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Lucie Jones, an executive paralegal at EIP. EIP is one of our Charter signatories.
Lucie writes: "I remember watching a video on social media: “If men breastfed”. This advert for a breast pump company depicts what the workplace would be like if breastfeeding was the realm of men. I giggled seeing male stereotypes associated with expressing breast milk: men gathering in a lactation lounge that looks like a pub/casino, competing to express the most breastmilk, the gadget geeks boasting their high tech breast pumps, the fitness freak using the expressing time for a work out. I became seriously envious when I saw the breast shields being cleaned by the barman and lactation cookies and lactation steaks being on offer… and beer! And here I was, alone in my small meeting room, with my low tech pump, trying to express enough for my son’s next day feeds.. and not having had a drop of alcohol for months! How I wished I could be drinking a (virgin) mojito while my breast pump massages my neck and shoulders at the same time as expressing my milk… Still I was incredibly grateful to have this private space accommodated for me and for being allowed the time to express for as long as I wanted without any questions asked.
The majority of women decide to stop breastfeeding before they go back to work. After all in the UK we are granted a one year maternity leave and if one third of the mothers are still breastfeeding at 6 months, only 0.5% do so at 12 months. However some women decide to keep breastfeeding for all sorts of reasons. In my case, my son had been born extremely premature and even though he was almost one year old when I went back to work, he would have been only 8 months old had he been born full term. He had chronic lung disease that made him more susceptible to chest infections and as we were in the middle of winter I wanted him to have the immunity my breastmilk could give him. It would have been very difficult for me to go back to work hadn’t I been given the possibility to express in the office. At first it was to make sure he had enough breastmilk for his feeds while I was at work and for this I was pumping three times a day. Then, as he got stronger and healthier, it was for my body to adjust to not breastfeeding/expressing for a long period of time and I could reduce the expressing sessions progressively.
There are less dramatic reasons to want to keep breastfeeding a child. Many mothers have to, or choose to, shorten their maternity leave and go back to work when their baby is still heavily reliant on breastmilk, or their infant is allergic to formula/cow’s milk, or some just want to follow the World Health Organisation recommendation to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond... Whatever their reason is, it is important that they are given the possibility to do so.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Ben Buchanan, a UK IPO Diversity Champion, and is a summary of his presentation at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord's annual internal conference. Both the IPO and UDL are Charter signatories.
Ben writes: "On 16 June 2017 I had the pleasure of speaking on behalf of IP Inclusive to people from across the business at Urquhart-Dykes & Lord. UDL are IP Inclusive charter signatories and had invited a speaker from the IP Inclusive taskforce to talk to them at their annual conference about the work we do and how UDL could get involved.
The event provided a valuable opportunity to have a big conversation about why diversity and inclusion (D&I) is good for business – as well as being the right thing to do. It was also an opportunity to make sweeping assumptions, challenge them, and think about how – and why – to mitigate the consequences of unconscious bias in everything we do.
After an introduction to IP Inclusive and a recap of our recent achievements, I asked the conference delegates to think of as many differentiating characteristics – diversity categories if you like – as they could.
Interestingly the feedback moved rapidly on from protected characteristics and visually apparent differences, to things like educational background, ideological beliefs and values, culture, cognitive preferences and sources of motivation. Within the workplace, people were talking about length of service, seniority and working patterns. Outside work we talked about friendships, community ties and preferences for living environments.
We then reflected on these differences and how they can potentially benefit business performance and competitive advantage. How, by making the most of them, organisations can empower people to be themselves and do their best.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Fellows and Associates Ltd and is a more in-depth review of an excerpt from their 6th annual Salary Survey that has recently been published. The article focuses on the final part of their report that looks at discrimination within the workplace. Fellows and Associates are one of our Charter signatories.
Michele Fellows writes: “Every year, Fellows and Associates compile a salary survey of the Intellectual Property profession. We continually look to improve on it based on feedback and changes within the market place and this year, in support of IP Inclusive, we were particularly excited to take a closer look at discrimination within the workplace. We know that many firms have signed up to the IP Inclusive initiative and times have changed recently (although never as much as we would like) and as such we asked our respondents to focus solely on their experience within the last two years.
To put this into perspective, 88 of the 206 people who completed the survey had experienced discrimination of some sort. Of these 88 people, 67% had encountered discrimination of more than one type either directed at themselves or at someone else. This issue is definitely not exclusive to the UK, with both the UK and international contributors achieving almost the same ratio of those that had been discriminated against versus those that had not.
Our latest blog article is written by John F Kennedy, head of client services at specialist trade mark firm Wildbore & Gibbons LLP. John is originally from a brand development and professional services management background, and now specialises in brand protection. Wildbore & Gibbons is one of our Charter signatories.
John writes: "As one of the signatories to the IP Inclusive Charter, we are one of the firms promoting inclusivity and diversity in our sector. We are fortunate that in our 130 year history we have developed a diverse client base spanning a range of sectors, cultures, peoples and geographical locations.
Brands have always sought “exclusivity” in some form or another, to differentiate their products or service offering from their host of competitors. The new challenge in our highly scrutinized, 24/7 online media world is to be authentic, inclusive and transparent in all activities as an integral aspect of doing business - not simply as a clever marketing campaign.
The new brand challenge facing clients in every sector is to be more “inclusive” in every aspect of their business. This includes every facet of business - the operational; the logistical; supplier and distributor relationships and employee and stakeholder engagement.
Brand protection has always been founded on solid trade mark advice from your friendly neighbourhood trade mark attorney. The spectrum of protection has now expanded across a new brand continuum - overseeing brand and reputation management in every aspect of the modern business. Brand behaviour is not just minutely examined but any flaws not befitting the brand can be communicated and commented on in the online world in seconds. The “empowered” consumer can be a positive advocate, the “disgruntled” consumer can have a very negative impact on reputation and long term brand credibility.
This morning, many IP professionals attended the Diversity in IP breakfast in London, which was organised by AIPLA, CITMA, CIPA and FICPI-UK. At the event, there was much talk about the reasons why IP organisations should think seriously about diversity and inclusion - staff happiness, employee retention, job satisfaction, client wins and client retention were just of the motives mentioned by the speakers. (See our Twitter feed for more of the points made during the event).
Once you are convinced that equality, diversity and inclusion are important, you may wonder what you and your firm needs to do next. Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Victoria Barker, Associate at Kilburn & Strode LLP, and is about her and her firm's efforts to improve diversity, and in particular, gender equality, in the workplace. Kilburn & Strode are one of our Charter signatories.
Victoria writes: "The 2013 book by Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In, has undoubtedly been controversial. In the book Sheryl explores factors that may hold some women back in the workplace, mostly by looking at her own experiences. For example, she mentions creating special parking spaces for pregnant women near the front door to her employer’s building when she was faced with a long walk across the car park during her own pregnancy. The book aims to inspire women to take a more active role in developing their career, and encourages men to provide support for women so they can do this. Not all of Sheryl’s comments have been well received, with some critics calling the book little more than a manifesto for privileged white women. Nevertheless, by starting a conversation on gender issues in the workplace, the book has led to the formation of more than 32,000 “Lean In Circles” in 151 countries worldwide.
"Lean In Circles" are groups of like-minded people of both sexes coming together to discuss issues that affect (primarily) women in the workplace. Circles can be big or small, open to new members or closed, physical groups or online-only - whatever suits the members best. Some of the Circles are affiliated with an employer, others with a geographical location, and still others with a specific career path or job title.
In April, Kilburn & Strode joined the Lean In community and held our first Circle meeting.
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Wynne-Jones IP and is a write-up of the event held they hosted jointly with the UK IPO during Mental Health Awareness week. The article contains practical tips on what you can to do improve your mental health, and explains what IP practitioners who attended the event have pledged to do to achieve a healthier work-life balance. Wynne-Jones IP is one of our Charter signatories.
"The IP profession can often prove to be stressful. Long days, complex legal issues, client-based challenges, and working to strict deadlines can often take its toll on the mental health of attorneys and support staff in this environment.
As methodical people who aim to find specific solutions to complex issues, it can be hard to accept when you are faced with a problem which simply can’t be fixed with logic. This often results in individuals becoming insular and suffering with issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression privately.
At Wynne-Jones IP, we recognise that it can be hard to open up about the private battles you may be facing and discuss your inner thoughts.
But just remember – you’re not alone.
In the spirit of supporting our peers in the IP profession, we recently held a very successful Mental Health Awareness Week event in conjunction with IP Inclusive and the IPO, which we fittingly titled: Get Off That Hamster Wheel! Perspectives on stress management for a better work/life balance.
The session, held on 11th May 2017 addressed the stigmas and common misconceptions surrounding mental health issues.
We welcomed a host of prestigious speakers on the day, who all spoke out about the importance of supporting those with mental health concerns, and recognising it to help alter attitudes in the workplace.
Tim Moss, Chief Executive Officer and Controller General of the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO), opened the talk with an insightful comment about how far the profession has progressed in openly discussing mental health.
As often recognised, IP professionals can bottle up the stresses associated with the job for fear of seeming ineffective in their roles, weak, or simply a failure.
Thanks to events like this, it encourages people not to suffer in silence, but to open up to their colleagues about their daily struggles, and to accept their mental illness for what it is – an illness, for which IP professionals should receive support to cope with in a stigma-free environment.