Equality Bill measures on pay and diversity display naivety

It would appear that despite the HR voices, equality minister Harriet Harman is adamant that mandatory pay audits and positive discrimination is the way ahead. (‘Equality Bill laid before Parliament’, Personneltoday.com, 26 June). What a serious error of judgement.

While the government should be applauded for the proposed extension of the age regulations to include provision of services, it should also be admonished for a display of naivety in addressing two key areas in the workplace.

From working with many private and public sector clients, the vast majority see positive discrimination as a worrying signal of defeat including the very people positive discrimination is intended to help.

I also fail to see how a sophisticated and objective assessment process such as competency frameworks cannot provide clear evidence of the best candidate for a role – thereby negating the need for positive discrimination with two equal candidates.

Second, equal pay issues are very sophisticated and publishing comparative (and average) pay scales will do nothing to address the underlying elements.

We have unearthed serious attitudinal, procedural and skills related issues within client workplaces that contribute to unequal compensation issues. This is where the focus needs to be to eradicate subjective ‘performance detached’ pay awards. The better organisations are dealing with it now the others will follow.

Jon Whiteley, managing director, Diversity in Business

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