Equality, Diversity, Women on Boards, Gender Wage Gap, and Wage Gap Reporting – Its safe to say that that gender equality is high on the agenda. Actually, all equality and diversity issues are being addressed in a huge way, right across the globe.
And rightly so, its 2016 and to be politically correct, and as a society we are being pushed to acknowledge that ‘All Lives Matter’. This ethos has been creeping into the world of business for some time now. So surely, if all lives matter than we would all be treated entirely as equals? Especially in Great Britain; one of the most advanced countries in the world, with some of the globes most prestigious schools and an education system that is much sought after. A country that will now see its 2nd female prime minister in power.
The fact we have a female running the country shows just how far we have come in the last 100 years, The Parliamentary Qualification of Women Act was only passed in 1918, the same year that women were given the right to vote – previous to that we didn’t have a voice to speak of.
So why is it that a country that is advanced and thriving in so many ways is failing when it comes to something as SIMPLE as pay equality? Because to put it bluntly it is simple, there is literally nothing that is difficult about paying men and women the same wage. It’s a sad fact that the Equal Pay Act was first introduced in the 1970’s and we are STILL working towards it.
Of course, the gender pay gap has come under scrutiny as to whether it actually exists. It’s come under scrutiny from people like Katie Hopkins, who became (in) famous for her unwavering insolence and rudeness that seems to know no boundaries (and the escapades in a field but let’s not go into that). Katie Hopkins doesn’t believe the Gender Wage Gap exists;
Dave the Rave, you shiny headed sorcerer, there is NO SUCH THING as a gender pay gap. Women work less and hence paid less. Deal with it.
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) July 14, 2015
Look you lunatics, women work flexi-time, part-time, take less responsibility after family hence achieve lower salary v men. Own your issues
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) July 14, 2015
Great work Katie. Contrary to Katie Hopkins moronic ramblings, it’s a sad fact that the gender wage gap very much exists. The Office for National Statistics reports that figures show a gap of £5,732 on average between full time salaries between men and women. The median gross pay for a man is £29,934 vs the median gross pay for a woman at £24,202.
When you break the figures down, it is also reported that for every £1 a man earns, women are earning 85 pence. When put as bluntly as this, it becomes almost embarrassing to admit that we live in a world that still denies gender inequality exists.
Between the ages of 5 – 16 we are all obliged to embrace equal opportunity in the form of education in exactly the same way. However, when it comes to higher education, there has been a gender gap created of 9.2% in which women are superseding men at university. UCAS reported this year that they had received 94,000 fewer applications from men than women by the end of their January application progress. So does this mean that while women are furthering their education, men are entering the world of work earlier, putting them in the lead when it comes to progression, reward and promotion.
One of the main contributing reasons for the gap is the impact of having children. The Fawcett Society have said that after analysis, “The impact of having children means that as men’s careers take off, women’s often stagnate or decline. Their salaries never fully recover.”
The legacy of inflexible working hours for working mothers coupled with sky high childcare costs are not contusive for mothers returning to successful, well paid and high flying careers.
The introduction of shared parental leave will undoubtedly work towards closing the gap, as long as any stigma and outdated views on dads taking time are shaped to fit into modern culture. As employees ALLOW their male employees to embrace shared parental without fear of indirect discrimination – let’s stop pretending that it won’t happen at all. Much of this country’s business was built on ‘the old boys club’ after all.
But as a young business, why should you really care about the gender wage gap? Because ultimately, if you are a business owner it is going to impact you on some level whether than is financially or ethically. Since the government announced that businesses were going to be forced into transparency, women across the country have gained the confidence to address the issue and at some point, you may find yourself addressing the issue. A small glimmer of hope comes in the form of recent survey results; a recent U.K. survey by Paydata reveals that 67 percent of respondents had prioritised equal pay audits for the coming 12 months; a significant shift, when compared with earlier editions of this survey.
Rather than a glimmer of hope, occasionally you come across a shining beacon; London Based marketing agency Brainlabs analysed pay across its 40 or so staff and found a difference of 8.6% between average men’s and women’s salaries. So it raised women’s salaries by an average of 8.6%.
To be a successful business, you need a team that are motivated, content and passionate about what they do. A team that share and respect your vision and are supporting you when it comes to achieving it. If you do want to have a team that is striving, like you, towards personal and commercial success by choosing to pay them based on their chromosomes is going to wipe out any respect and motivation that they will possess for you and the business.
As a woman, to find out that you are being paid less than a male counterpart, however the business tries to justify it, is a humiliating and devastating experience. You might be thinking ‘that’s a little strong’, but by paying a female employee less but expecting them to be responsible for the same role and work does nothing more than communicate that that you don’t think their time and effort is worth as much as a man’s. Businesses need to stop thinking as employer/employee and start thinking about everyone as human beings, with feelings and emotions because our internal emotions have a direct correlation with our external outputs.
Don’t enable your staff to mentally check out because they feel undervalued and disrespected because they will lose interest in the success and reputation of the business. They will not hold back on their experiences when it comes to sharing them in the future. You owe it to yourself, your staff and to human beings in today’s modern society to create a fair and equal pay and reward structure. You also owe it to the UK economy – if the UK encouraged women to return after having a child to work with equal pay and flexible hours, GDP would increase by 9%.
It is often discussed that millennials are concerned with the ethical implications of the modern business world. Now is the time to be a pioneering start up! Strive to be successful in your own right, but also to shape the future to one that is equal in every respect.