Research shows that the pay gap is closing a little, it is normal since 2010. We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t recognize a significant way to go. We still have a pay gap and over 40 years after the Equal Pay Act it’s not really acceptable. The government is keen to take action, and we need to work with businesses and employers in order to do that.
One of the main measures is an initiative called Think Act, Report; it covers pay but also companies to promote gender equality in terms of retirement, retention and promotion of staff. When you look at the causes of pay gap a third is accounted for by occupational segregation, the fact that women are more likely to work sectors that pay less generally and some of that goes to the subject choices at hand. Fewer that ten percent of professional engineers are women and a study shows two thirds of school girls aren’t ever going to consider it as a career, despite it being a well-paid profession. In other words less well paid sectors like the caring professions, women are over represented. About another third of the pay gap is explained by women taking time out of the labor market a lot of that is related to having children, but also to other caring responsibilities of the elderly.
When women go back to work after children are born, they are perhaps more likely to work part time, maybe even sacrifice their salary and won’t make the same progress in their career for a few years. In the 21st century men are much less likely to do that. Gender roles are difficult to shift, which has an impact on the pay gap too. Shared leave will be enforced in 2015, allowing parents to choose how to slit their time off when they have a baby. If women take a year, they still have the right to do that, but if they decide with their partner they want to be able to split it with the father.
The final unexplained, so that probably includes discrimination still exists in some places, is difficult to point out as to why it happens, but to be blunt it is the dinosaur attitudes that most employees have about how well equipped women are to do particular roles, attitudes which obviously don’t have a place in the modern work area.
The government has just announced a significant piece of research looking into pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The last really big piece of research was done in 2005 so it will give us a bit more information about the relevance of discrimination. The advantage of this initiative is that companies can address the problems which affect them. Different industries and different companies have generously different problems.
For example, if you run an engineering company, it is quite difficult for you to employ equal numbers of men and women, as there aren’t an equal number coming out of one university. What they might want to do is encourage more young people into that sector in the first place. If you look at some law firms many have a 50/50 intake then what you look at who they are making partners, the figures are very different in story. So, they need to look at why…