Closing The Gender Pay Gap
This April, all UK companies with more than 250 employees had to report the details of the median hourly rate paid to male and female staff according to the Guardian.
The Independent reported that more than 10,015 employers met the deadline with 1,500 organisations publishing their reports after the deadline had passed.
Companies who failed to report their mean and median gender pay gaps and bonus gaps faced penalties, including court orders. Firms had a month to report figures before action was taken.
The figures show that more than three-quarters of UK companies pay their male staff more than their female staff in nine out of 17 sectors in the economy. Men earn 10 percent more on average than women, while nine out of 10 women work for a company that pays them less, as reported in the Financial Times.
Fiona McKay, PhD Journalism tutor at the University of Strathclyde will be speaking at the Gendered Representations event on Wednesday 6 June at Glasgow Library.
McKay said: “If you look at the average hourly earnings of women and men across the UK, this is lower than men. This is sometimes confused with the idea and issues of ‘equal pay’, where men and women who are in jobs requiring equivalent work are required to be paid the same amount, which has legislation supporting this.
“The gender pay gap is a more systemic imbalance in the average pay, usually calculated with the median, of men and women, showing a gender imbalance in how our society is stratified in the world of work”.
Women between the ages of 22 and 29 earn £1,111 more per annum than their male counterparts but that trend drastically changes once women reach the age of 30 reported in the Guardian. A 30-year-old man in 2006 earned an average of £8,775 more than a woman of the same age by the time they turned 37 in 2013, according to the Telegraph. At this age, many women start families or become the caretaker of family members, so this statistic may suggest that single, childless women are more desirable in the workplace.
Kelsey Smith, a representative from Close the Gap, said: “Among full-time employees, the gap is relatively small, up to and including those aged 35 to 39.
“For those aged 16 to 17, the gap is negative 3.5 percent. From the 40 to 44 age group and upwards, the gap is much wider, with men being paid substantially more on average than women. This widening of the gap is likely to be connected with patterns of return to work after having children, in particular, any differences between men and women in timing and nature of returning to the labour market”.
There are a few reasons which cause the gender pay gap, as stated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The first factor is the highest paid sectors are male-dominated. Many of the highest paying sectors are disproportionately made up of men.
The effects of part-time work are a second factor. The difference in years of experience of full-time work, the negative effects on wages of having previously worked part-time or having taken time away from the labour market to look after family are all variables.
The final factor is stereotyping. Unconscious stereotyping with assumptions about women not wanting to accept promotions or not being in a position to do so because they have caring responsibilities can also affect the pay gap. Women make up 47% of the workforce but only 22% are in senior leadership roles, reported in the Catalyst.
Smith added: “The gender pay gap is a longstanding feature of labour markets across the globe. While it has narrowed in many countries, overall progress has been slow and is far from complete.
“Differential gender roles are adopted early on in life and influence much of what happens in the home, school, personal relationships, family life and employment. Therefore, men and women often follow different paths in education and employment, which lead to overall differences in pay.
“Segregation into traditional gender roles is often not a conscious ‘choice’ for either women or men. Rather, these choices are constrained by social pressures and expectations, and are passed on from one generation to the next”.