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EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

29 November 2017

People with masculine names get paid more

A quirky, but nonetheless depressing survey, by recruitment agency Adzuna, finds that having a male name can add considerably to your salary. You can try it out for yourself at Adzuna’s ValueMyName site.

With examples that should keep bloggers and journalists happy for months to come, Adzuna’s survey found that the highest earning female names (Liz, Jo and Michelle) earned £22,000 less than the highest earning male names (Ed, Giles, and Gerry).

The answer, as a very senior woman told me many years ago, is to be called Chris, a factor which she said had played no small part in her success.  Typing in Chris, rather than Sheila, more than doubled my worth, so there must be something in what she said!

24 November 2017

The ethics of pay in a fair society

A short but useful contribution from PWC, along with the LSE, to the current conversations about fair pay and equal pay. 

The ethics of pay in a fair society attempts to get to grips with some of the moral principles that underlie notions of fairness in pay.  The report – only sixteen pages long –merits reading in full, but in the context of my own interest in the gender pay gap, the most relevant (but unsurprising!) finding, is that while the demographics suggest that the dimensions of fairness and the balance between them have universal appeal, ideas about distributive justice differ between the generations, with young people having far less confidence in the ability of the market to produce a morally desirable result, and wanting stronger protection for the less well off.

Moreover, equal opportunity was the principle where there was the biggest gap between aspiration and reality.

These are points I often make in my presentations on the gender pay gap: younger workers expect pay to be fair, and they expect employers to treat people equally. As the PWC report says “This provides a challenge to companies seeking to develop an approach that works for three generations in the workforce.”

Employers who fail to meet younger people’s expectations, or who don’t appreciate the need to do so, will, sooner or later, lose out in the competition for talent. 

The report makes a number of suggestions as to how companies should respond. Do read it!

22 November 2017

European Commission steps up action on equal pay

The European Commission is adopting an Action Plan for 2018-19 to combat the gender pay gap from all possible angles.

The Action Plan includes a broad and coherent set of activities to tackle the gender pay gap, and prioritizes 8 areas for action:

  1. Improving the application of the equal pay principle
  2. Combating segregation in occupations and sectors
  3. Breaking the ceiling: initiatives to combat vertical segregation
  4. Tackling the care penalty
  5. Better valorizing women's skills, efforts and responsibilities
  6. Fighting the fog: unveiling inequalities and stereotypes
  7. Alerting and informing about the gender pay gap
  8. Lending hands: enhancing partnerships to tackle the gender pay gap
The Action Plan is accompanied by an Evaluation Report of the Commission’s 2014 Pay Transparency Recommendation. The UK’s gender pay gap regulations mean that we are ahead of the field in respect of transparency.

The Commission will also be having a closer look at the need to clarify the legal provisions on equal pay that are in the Directive on equal treatment between women and men in employment and occupation. It remains to be seen whether this initiative will be concluded before the UK has left the European Union.

For more information and to download the Action Plan, click here.

20 November 2017

totaljobs Gender Bias Decoder

With the gender-pay gap a key focus of many UK organisations, recruitment firm has looked into how the language of a job ad could impact on diversity.
Using previous academic research from The University of Waterloo and Duke University which outlined a series of male and female gender-coded words, analysed 76,929 job adverts over a six week period to assess the frequency of gender-coded words in UK recruitment.
Within these job adverts, they found 478,175 words which carry gender bias. This is an average of 6 male-coded or female-coded words per job advert.
The research shows that while that many industries are making real strides towards greater inclusivity, gender-coded words are rife within UK job adverts, and are serving to unintentionally uphold gender-stereotypes. 
The wording of ads for senior level positions was more likely to be skewed towards male applicants. The City of London was the location most likely to use male biased language, with Manchester leading the way in the use of gender neutral language.
The aim of the study is to enable employers to receive more (and more relevant)  applications for their vacancies, and with this in mind totaljobs have launched the  totaljobs Gender Bias Decoder, which will help employers to check job descriptions for any unconscious bias. To find out more, click here
It would be interesting to know to what extent the skewing of the vocabulary used in job ads correlates with salaries, both as advertised, and as actually offered.

14 November 2017

Gender pay gap starts at home

Every year there’s a statistic that puzzles me – that boys apparently get more pocket money than girls.

This year’s Childwise Monitor Report has been quoted as finding that boys aged 5 to 16 get on average £2.20 a week more than girls of the same age, and that girls are far more likely to receive no regular income at all.  Girls were also given less financial freedom, with items being bought for them, rather than them choosing what to spend their money on.  
These findings have been consistent over at least two decades, and I do believe there must be something in them.

And if so, it’s worrying. First, why would a parent, or other family member, give a boy more pocket money than a girl? It just wouldn’t have occurred to me to do so. My children’s father and I gave our son and daughter the same weekly amounts at the same age, and it would not have occurred to us to do otherwise. What’s going on?

Second, why should a girl’s financial education be any different to that of a boy? As Childwise Research manager Jenny Ehren said “The data points towards an early gender imbalance in the way parents educate their children about money matters and financial independence. Boys are more likely to be entrusted with regular cash payments, while girls are more reliant on other people buying them items, or managing money on their behalf.”

So, it’s not just that families are perpetuating a gender divide in income, they’re also perpetuating a gender divide in financial awareness – but surely, we all need to know how to manage our finances. And when it comes to negotiating our salaries, if we enter into those negotiations knowing that we are worth more or less than our siblings, isn’t this going to influence our expectations about how much we should be paid? It’s no good lamenting that women ask for less than men do when we’re bringing them up to do so. 

3 November 2017

UK ranks 53rd in the world for gender equality

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. In addition, this year’s edition also analyses the dynamics of gender gaps across industry talent pools and occupations.

The Report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of the global gender gap and of efforts and insights to close it. The Index points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or their income group—are leaders in having divided resources more equitably between women and men than other countries have, regardless of the overall level of resources available. The Report’s detailed Country Profiles and online Data Explorer tool not only allow users to understand how close each country has come to the equality benchmark in each of the four dimensions examined by the Index, but also provide a snapshot of the legal and social framework within which these outcomes are produced. The magnitude of gender gaps in countries around the world is the combined result of various socioeconomic, policy and cultural variables.

The Global Gender Gap Index was developed in 2006 partially to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. The Index does not seek to set priorities for countries but rather to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts.

The UK ranks 53rd on the economic participation and opportunity indicator – see page 332 of the report.

You can access the report here

2 November 2017

European Equal Pay Day - fact sheet on gender pay gap in the UK

According to a press release issued by the European Commission today, the average hourly pay of women in Europe is 16.3 per cent lower than that of men. 
European Equal Pay Day, which falls on 3 November this year, marks the moment when women effectively stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues, with almost two months of the year remaining.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and Commissioner Věra Jourová said:
"Gender equality, including equal pay for men and women, is one of the EU's founding values. But it is still far from a reality. For the past years, the gender pay gap has basically refused to budge.
This means that women work for two months a year for free in comparison to their male colleagues. This is a shocking and unacceptable injustice in the 21st century Europe.
We urgently need to make progress with this stubborn issue, which affects women and our societies on many other points: Women still tend to work in lesser-paid sectors, get fewer promotions and are underrepresented in management positions. And single-parent households with women as the sole breadwinner are more exposed to poverty, including child poverty and consequent disadvantages.
Pay gap is not the only problem. Recent revelations on sexual harassment underline the sometimes hostile working environments which women also have to face, with obvious consequences for their professional development and well-being.
The European Commission wants to lead the way to fight this injusticeIn a few weeks, we will present an Action Plan to Tackle the Gender Pay Gap. This will step up ongoing actions and present new measures.
In November we will also host a Colloquium on 'Women's Rights in Turbulent Times' and will dedicate part of the programme to finding new solutions to tackle the gender pay gap. Around that same time, the European Pillar of Social Rights will be proclaimed on the highest level, reaffirming that women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
Europeans are more aware of inequalities between the sexes than ever before, as we have seen in the recent #MeToo campaign on social media, and we must seize on the momentum this creates to take action and change behaviours. On European Equal Pay Day we commit to defend equal rights and opportunities on the labour market for women and men, and we will continue to do so until the EU becomes a truly good address for women."
In the EU, women perform equally well or even better in education than men, but this is not reflected in the labour market. In 2016, 33 per cent of women in the EU had completed tertiary education, compared to 29 per cent of men. At the same time, the overall employment rate of women is 11.6pp lower than that of men. Women also continue to be under-represented at top-level positions in the largest companies in the EU. Only 1 in 14 board chairs, and 1 in 20 CEOs are women.
For More Information