Progress in addressing the issue of equal pay for men and women appears to be “grinding to a halt”, despite improving for the past 30 years, according to a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The research found that the mean gender pay gap for women and men working full time was 16.4%, rising to 27% for women aged 40.
Women with no qualifications faced a 58% loss of earnings over their lifetime as a result of motherhood, whereas women with degrees faced a 4% loss.
The report, “How fair is Britain?”, said: “Younger women have higher skill levels on average than their male counterparts, yet women are less likely than men to rise to senior positions and more likely to end up in roles, particularly part-time roles, which do not make full use of their skills.”
Charles Cotton, performance and reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “While the Equality Act will help, it will not do a great deal if we really want significant progress. To do this we will have to start focusing on the career choices that women make at a very early age.
“With the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review we may find that local governments and the public sector have even less money to deal with this issue than before.”
The Equality Act 2010 contains a number of provisions designed to address the gender pay gap, such as gender pay audits.
Gender pay reporting was not implemented with the bulk of the Equality Act on 1 October and is still under review by the Government.
Personnel Today Plus members can access a model equal opportunities policy for use in policy manuals or staff handbooks. If you are not a member, click here to sign up to Personnel Today Plus for free.
For more information on tackling the gender pay gap, read XpertHR’s guidance to equal pay and the Equality Act 2010.