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Audits are best way to close the pay gap

first_img Comments are closed. Rebekah Wade’s decision to stick with the daily Page 3 ‘boob fest’ hasdetracted from her success at becoming editor of The Sun. As the first femaleeditor, she has broken through a significant glass ceiling. For those seeking sex equality, however, there is depressing news – thegender pay gap got wider last year, with the earnings of full-time womenworkers (£10.22 per hour) now trailing those of men (£12.59) by 18.8 per cent. Direct pay discrimination, where an employer pays a woman less than a man inthe same job even though she is as effective a worker, is not the major causeof the gap. Three-quarters of the gap is explained by differences in patternsof employment between men and women – although this does reflect unequalopportunities. Women’s employment is highly concentrated by occupation – almost two-thirdsof women work in 10 service-related occupations, mostly performing admin,secretarial or caring roles – and such ‘women’s jobs’ tend to be poorly paid.Women’s role as the primary carer in most households limits their choice ofoccupation, lifetime work experience, and/or their ability to commute to wherethe best jobs are. Society, in turn, tends to undervalue ‘feminised’occupations relative to those that men dominate – and because of limitedopportunity, women crowd into these occupations, depressing pay rates stillfurther. Moreover, in all occupations, job grading and appraisal systems have beenfound to undervalue women’s contribution. Indeed, the pay gap widened last yearprecisely because women received lower bonus payments than men. The good news is that underlying labour market developments seem to beshifting in women’s favour. During the past 20 years women’s share of total UKemployment has grown from 40 to 45 per cent, while the proportion of womenwithout formal skills has shrunk from 45 to 17 per cent, gradually opening upthe range of jobs from which women can choose. The proportion of femalemanagers has also grown considerably during the past decade from fewer than onein 10 to more than a third, according to Chartered Management Institutefigures. Yet despite this, the need for further encroachment by women into thehigh-paid bastions of UK industry is pressing if the gender pay gap is tonarrow significantly. Women still make up only 7 per cent of all boarddirectors of FTSE 100 companies and are not in enough senior positions tochallenge indirect or unconscious pay discrimination. CIPD surveys indicate that few organisations have taken action to rectifydifferences in male and female earnings and fewer than half carry out payaudits. This undermines the ability of organisations – and society as a whole –to realise the potential of all in the workforce and enable women to find theirrightful place in the sun. By John Philpott, Chief economist, CIPD Audits are best way to close the pay gapOn 4 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

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