Gender pay gap – comments from the community part one

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David Cameron has today announced plans to close the gender pay gap “within a generation”. Cameron aims to pressure big businesses to publish their gender pay gap in hopes to shaming them into raising female workers pay.

Here we take a look at what the community are saying following the announcement.

Dr Clare Lyonette, from the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research, investigates all aspects of work and family including gender and class inequalities. She says:

“Of course it is welcome that the government is introducing new legislation to introduce mandatory reporting on pay for larger organisations, with the purpose of closing the gender pay gap, but there is still a long way to go.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission has been calling for these changes for years. The legislation needs to ensure transparency and a real culture change within organisations, otherwise this may become just another tick-box exercise.  

“There are also additional issues to address to ensure that women do not fall behind men in the workplace, such as the quality of part-time jobs and the full-time/part-time pay gap; the prohibitive costs of childcare; and any residual gender discrimination within organisations, whereby women are seen to be less committed to work than men.

“However, this is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Following the Government’s announcement around salary transparency and the gender pay divide, Joe Wiggins career trends analyst at Glassdoor comments:

“Salary transparency in the UK is long overdue and it’s a shame it has taken Government intervention to finally make organisations sit up and listen. However, our research has shown that just 35% of employees know what their colleagues earn so this is clearly a wider issue than just the gender pay divide – it impacts all employees. For (60%) of employees this will be music to their ears as they claimed in our research that companies should be forced to be more transparent.

“Eliminating the gender pay divide is just the tip of the iceberg, we’d really like to see the Government look at salary transparency in its entirety as it impacts every employee. Our business has been built on transparency, offering information for both new and existing employees across the globe. This is the future for employees as working with limited information becomes a thing of the past. We hope this cloak and dagger approach to recruitment will be finally eliminated.”

Nicola Rabson, global head of employment & incentives at Linklaters says

“The government has today published its consultation on gender pay transparency. The consultation is a prelude to regulations designed to speed up the rate at which the UK’s gender-pay gap (currently standing at 19.1%) closes. The consultation is wide ranging and has reopened the question of the size of employers – in terms of employee numbers – who will be required to report, as well as the content, frequency and manner of reporting.

“The most vexing issue is likely to be the level of detail that is required to be published – an overall pay comparison of the pay of an organisation’s male and female employees will provide considerably less information than a job-by-job comparison. Although at this stage there is little concrete action for employers to take, businesses may well be inclined to respond to the consultation, which closes on 6 September.”

Chris Cayley, EMEA managing director at specialist legal and compliance recruiter Laurence Simons, comments on the announcement that large companies will have to reveal what they pay male and female employees:

“In the professions the gender pay gap is a continuing reality. The most recent research from Laurence Simons shows women in the legal profession currently earn 24% less than men and achieve a bonus which is on average 66% less than their male counterparts. The good news is that the gender gap has been closing at an average rate of 4% a year according to our recent research and the profession is currently on track for parity in 2021.

“We do, of course, need to compare apples with apples and a broad range of factors contribute to individual salaries – it’s a complex issue. However, highlighting where there are gaps in pay in top firms and companies shows it’s an issue which is being taken seriously. There is still more to be done in terms of equal pay across gender, befitting a nation with such high standing in the global economy.”

Want more reactions, read part two here.

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