Today is the deadline for all private companies in the UK, with over 250 employees, to publish how much their male employees earn compared to their female employees. Companies have been reporting their #genderpaygap
This isn’t about equal pay where you compare the pay of a man and a woman who are doing exactly the same job, this is about the average hourly pay for all men in an organisation compared with the average hourly pay for all women.
I wasn’t entirely surprised to read that across the UK, 78% of companies pay men more than they pay women. 13% pay women more than men and 8% said they had no gender pay gap.
The average gender pay gap is 18.4%.
If you work for a company with over 250 employees, you should be able to find their data using this gov.uk link.
There were some predictable results: the construction industry, for example, has a really large (over 50%) gender pay gap. There were also some big surprises: Karen Millen, the women’s fashion retailer pays women 49% less per hour than men. This means that men are being paid twice what women are paid, at a women’s fashion brand. Now, I never really shop in Karen Millen these days anyway (their tight fits don’t flatter my post-pregnancy body) but I refuse to even look in the window now!
There will be people, obviously, who try to explain away the gender pay gap, saying that it only exists because of the choices that women make. This is true, but women have constrained menu of choices to make. It is also absolutely true that many (but definitely not all!) of the causes of the gender pay gap lie outside of the workplace.
Childcare commitments mean that us mothers are less likely to go for challenging, less full-on, jobs. We are the ones who take maternity leave, who cut back our hours to do the school run, who try to fit it all in and then feel like we are compromising in every area.
Diversity is good for business. Now, diversity isn’t just about the gender balance, it’s about the ethnic balance, the class balance, the international balance. Diversity is about diversity of thought.
Gender is a good place to start though. Different genders have different perspectives on issues. If you have diversity on your boards, in your company, in your organisation, it is better for business. Fact!
Companies need to develop inclusive workplaces, more flexible employment solutions, home working solutions, better promotion prospects for women, training, coaching and mentoring for women, sponsorship and networking opportunities, financially viable parental leave packages and an erosion of the culture of presentee-ism (which I feel acutely when I leave bang on five to make my 6pm nursery pick-up).
There is a lot more that companies can and should be doing. There is a lot more that government should be doing. There is probably a lot more that we could and should be doing too to ensure that we get the pay, recognition, working environment, flexibility and opportunities that we deserve.
The #paymetoo campaign has been set up to help and encourage women to challenge pay in their organisations.
Maybe, just maybe, we could make a change.
P.S. Not a collaborative post. This is too important not to write about.