Equal Pay Day: Moving from the salary to the performance economy

Women in business still suffer an 18 per cent pay gap due to gender prejudice, a new study reveals.

In time for Equal Pay Day, women across the country suffer an 18 per cent pay difference because of gender prejudice, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The study finds that 85 per cent of CEOs admit that the main cause of a continued pay gap is down to gender prejudice.

More than four fifths (85 per cent) of C-level executives believe there is a gender pay gap in UK businesses. However, a similar number (82 per cent) believe that more should be done to make pay for men and women equal.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of The Fawcett Society, a gender equality charity, thinks that the problems lies in occupational segregation in the labour market. With 80 per cent of care workers being women and 90 per cent of the STEM workforce being men and that the work that women do tends to be lower paid.

Smethers says, ‘McKinsey has calculated that it would add an extra £250 billion to the economy by 2025 if we were to close the gender pay gap. Previous estimates have put the figure at £600 billion. The pay gap represents a waste of female talent and skills – it is a productivity gap.’

She adds, ‘The pay gap 12 years after the birth of a first child is 33 per cent, so we need to enable men to take leave by equalising leave entitlements and also making flexibility the norm by making all jobs flexible working jobs unless there is a good business reason not to.’

Tom Castley, VP EMEA at Xactly, explains that Equal Pay Day marks the day where women are effectively working the rest of the year for free, something that is still unfathomable and stresses the fact that all UK businesses need to play their part in eradicating the gender pay gap.

Castley adds, ’85 per cent of UK businesses have admitted that a gender pay gap exists amongst the UK business community, and although eight-in-ten leaders say their business has a clear strategy to review and close the gap, it is clear that it isn’t making fast enough progress.’

He concludes, ‘Businesses often say that women are paid less because they take time out of their careers to have children: this excuse shouldn’t stand any more. Instead of paying people based on their position and tenure, employees must be rewarded for their output.

‘Empirically linking pay and performance, using data, will ensure that both women and men are being rewarded fairly for what they do.’

Further reading on equality

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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Gender pay gap

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