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EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

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!

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