Gender pay

picture thanks to

The publishing of gender related pay data in the UK is a momentous occasion. It is even a little exciting, not because it is going to tell us something new but rather it is a first and gives us a platform to work upon.

Companies with over 250 employees now have to publish figures comparing men and women’s average pay across the organisation. Not all companies have complied with the legislation yet significant numbers have. Information is being published through the government’s website and no doubt there will be a lot of pressure on the rest of the companies to complete their submissions.

As an example at 3M, the women’s mean hourly rate is 14% lower than men’s and the women’s median hourly rate is 8% lower than men’s.

Information is also given on the relative numbers of women and men in differing pay grades as well as whether any bonuses were paid. There is a lot of data to plough through and already the data buzzards are swooping down to pick over the bones. We can expect regular announcements over the coming weeks and months.

Hold the front page! The headline story is that women get paid less than men. Who would have thought it. The picture though is not consistent with the gap much smaller in the public and recently privatised companies, in general, than in the private sector. A small percentage of companies pay women more than men. Women also tend to occupy more part time positions and lower skilled jobs than men, while many take a career break to bring up children. It can take a concerted and consistent effort to get into a senior position

These may be sweeping generalisations and come as no real surprise. The question is though, what is going to be done about it?

I don’t know. Every organisation is different and the solution for one will not be the same as another. The point however, is that companies now have a basis of fact to base their decisions and plans upon. Whether the pay gap will ever be closed entirely is open to doubt but the publishing of the data is a significant milestone in moving towards greater parity.

Good information is the basis of all good decision making and I am glad to see such data published.

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