This blog's owner

EqualPayPortalBlogSpot is run by equal pay expert Sheila Wild

28 February 2018

Is the games industry catching up?

A recent post on features a discussion about the importance of ensuring employees are paid fairly regardless of their sex. The post kicks off with mention of the Equality Act 2010 as the source of women’s entitlement to equal pay. Makes me wonder if one of the factors contributing to pay inequalities in the sector is the industry not having noticed that the right to equal pay has been around for almost 50 years.

And does any other sector really think that the BBC is a good example of how to handle the issue?

Better late than never, and good to learn that Women in Games will put women who might have an equal pay issue in touch with people who can help them.  Unfortunately, the Women in Games search facility draws a blank on both ‘equal pay’ and ‘the gender pay gap’ – “NOT FOUND, Sorry, you are looking for something that isn’t here.”

27 February 2018

Closing the gender pay gap could increase female earnings by £85 billion

The fifth update of the Women in Work Index provides PWC’s assessment of female economic empowerment across 33 OECD economies. The index is a weighted average of five indicators that reflect female participation in the labour market and equality in the workplace; this year’s report uses the UK as a case study to examine the causes of the gender pay gap.

PWC’s analysis of the UK suggests that job segregation between women and men (women doing some types of jobs and men doing others), both across industries and across occupations is a major cause of the gender pay gap.

The report estimates that closing the gender pay gap could increase women’s annual earnings by £2000-£8000 a year, depending on the region in which they work. The report notes that there is much that businesses and government could do to help in closing the gender pay gap, and comes up with some excellent suggestions, but it makes no mention of reviewing pay practices per se, to ensure that women and men doing equal work receive equal pay. The report does however note that the gender pay gap matters, not only now, but because it has serious implications for a woman’s lifetime earnings and her ability to save for retirement.

You can read the full report here.

6 February 2018

The impact of part-time working on the gender pay gap

As so often happens, the press seized upon a simple headline, namely that the gender pay gap is down to women working part-time – but to say that is to do the paper’s authors a disservice; the situation is much more nuanced than the headlines implied.

IFS found that gender differences in rates of full-time and part-time paid work after childbirth are an important driver of differences in hourly wages between men and women. This is because they affect the amount and type of labour market experience that men and women build up, and this experience affects the hourly wage levels they can command.

While it used to be the case that women’s lower earnings were due to their taking time out to have children, improved maternity and parental rights mean that the main impact of experience now arises from women’s greater likelihood of working part-time after childbirth. The IFS paper states that this is because extra experience in fulltime work leads to higher hourly wages, whereas extra experience in part-time work does not. But, as the IFS says, and the press coverage largely forgot to mention, a key challenge for future research is to understand why part-time work shuts down wage progression so much.

The IFS goes on to consider the possible reasons for part-time working having such an adverse impact on earnings. These include less training provision, missing out on informal interactions and networking opportunities, and genuine constraints placed upon the build-up of skill by working fewer hours. Understanding this properly looks of great potential importance for policymakers who want to address the gender wage gap.

The report also suggests an alternative (or complementary) focus, namely to seek to understand the causes of gender differences in rates of full-time work in the first place, such as the division of childcare responsibilities. 

But don’t we also need to understand at what level of part-time working does wage progression begin to shut down?  At 30 hours a week? Surely not.  At 7 hours a week? Possibly. And in what types of role?  Do people who, for example, combine a medical specialism with research, experience a discounted rate of pay? Almost certainly not, and yet they will be holding two part-time roles. We do need to know more – but such questions have been being asked for decades – will someone please come up with the answers!

The IFS briefing paper deserves close consideration. You can find it here.