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Pay Gap Reports: Do They Work?

Matthew Alden October 08, 2018

Last week the Government announced that businesses would have to report on the Race Pay Gap within their workplace. The Gender Pay Gap Report was implemented earlier this year, and the figures recently released, despite showing some improvements, aren’t reflective of real change.

Who Run the World? Girls (but not with their pay)

It’s 2018. Your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or even which dog you own, should have no effect upon your chances of getting hired, or the amount you get paid. But, alas, it does (hopefully not the dog part – only psychopaths hate puppies). Whilst the gender pay gap report has prompted some minor change, the fact still stands that women working full time are, on average, paid 8.6% less than men. That gap widens even further for women aged over 40, to more than 10%. How wrong? You get to 40, potentially start to get menopausal and to make it even worse your male counterparts in the office are getting paid more than you to do the exact same job? I know I wouldn’t want to be faced with a woman who finds out she’s getting paid less, whilst mid hot flush. Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary has the right idea, she thinks “companies shouldn’t just be made to publish their gender pay gaps, they should be legally required to explain how they’ll close them”. We’re well into the 21st century, long gone are the days of women accepting blatant misogyny and sexism, it’s all about equality, and clearly there is still a long way to go.

“It don’t matter if you’re black or white” unfortunately, MJ, it does…

Such disparity doesn’t end with women, ethnic minorities make up more than 12% of the working-age population, yet only 6% of senior management roles. Theresa May announced earlier this month that, in a similar manner to the gender pay gap report, businesses would have to state the discrepancies in pay based on ethnicity. Could this report have as little impact as it’s gendered predecessor? Whilst it has the capacity to highlight the institutionalised racism rife throughout our society, can it implement change? Corporations will not consciously pay black and ethnic minorities (BMEs) less than their white counterparts, instead, it is built into the fabric of society to go unnoticed. From that perspective, perhaps this reporting will have the ability to shed a light on the blatant racism that still goes unpunished in this country. Equality needs to be made a priority. If businesses cannot allow BME staff to progress, or women, ultimately, they are being poorly managed, in an incredibly backward manner.

Where is the Love?

I think it’s fair to say that businesses have realised the value of diversity. As the Chief Executive of RBS, Ross McEwan, commented “all of us here know that the greater the diversity within our businesses, the more shareholder value we can create. With more women, black, Asian and minority ethnic staff we’re more productive, and better reflective of the communities we serve”. Businesses that are inclusive and diverse are more innovative, thus develop at a faster pace and conquer their competition. In order to maintain that diversity, and therefore success, companies need to be fair in their pay. Essentially, old, white men are no longer the be all and end all, and that mindset should have gone out the window at least half a century ago.

Matthew Alden October 08, 2018

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