What About Equal Pay?
#EqualPayDay varies from country to country, but you’ll notice that there is a lot of action under this hashtag and topic of discussion today. So what is the movement, where did it start and where are we now? Despite being something that we have been striving for, for nearly 49 years, equal status when it comes to pay is something we’re still some way off achieving.
The UK Equal Pay Day actually took place in November 2018, the day on which women effectively stop earning until the next year, compared to their male’s income for the year. In the US, however, Equal Pay Day marks the day that women have to work until to effectively earn what their male counterparts did in the previous year.
The UK Equal Pay Act was signed into law in 1970, following the US’s 1963 June 10th law, supporting women and men being paid equally for equal work. Over this time we have seen and heard a number or pledges and promises to reach an equal standing between the genders, however, we are still found wanting in many areas.
The pay gap is closing. It hasn’t closed but businesses and organisations are working to make necessary changes and bring equal pay to the table. As of late last year, the Office for National Statistics reported that the gap had dropped to an all-time low at 8.6% for full-time workers.
This report stated that the average woman will likely be paid around 17.9% less than men, this is the overall average of the pay gap for 2018. Although this is still far from equal pay, it is lessening each year, with an 18.4% gap the year before.
There are some industries and professions who, according to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – 2018 have achieved equal status in terms of pay with a 0% pay gap; these include (but are not limited to) Podiatrists, Nursing auxiliaries and assistants, Waiters and waitresses, Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants, Building and civil engineering technicians and Environmental health professionals.
Those fighting and protesting for equality are highly unlikely to ever see their contributions to the equal pay movement come to fruition in their lifetime. The world economic forum claims that it will take at least 202 years for the pay gap to actually close due to the slow movement to do so and the vastness of the gap.
Studying ages, countries and professions, the pay gap does clearly differ, so where is it worst and where is it best? According to the 2018 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, the area which has the largest pay gap is ‘Production managers and directors in mining and energy’ showing a 49% gap.
In America, women on average earn just 70 cents to every dollar their male counterparts receive. And the Eurostat in 2016 disclosed that Estonia came in at the bottom of the list for gender pay gap with 25% and Belgium at the other end of the scale with 6%.
Looking at the pay gap through the ranks, from lower level job roles up to the top of a company, the pay gap appears to rise with the level of seniority. For example, the Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey results showed that while marketing assistants would experience only an average 1% pay gap, the owners or partners of a company might experience a 39% pay gap. Is it that the change is beginning to happen but will take it’s time to disperse up through organisations as new candidates fill positions and more women infiltrate higher positions in the workplace?
How can you change the situation in the workplace as a position of management? Organisations of over 250 individuals are, for the second time required to report their gender pay gap this April, however this time the results will show the rate at which businesses are closing their own pay gap in comparison to last years results. Even as a smaller business, working and planning to close the pay gap should be part of your organisational conscience.