Conservative leader David Cameron has called on employers and staff to be more open about salaries, in a bid to close the pay gap between men and women.
After 30 years of the Equal Pay Act, women’s pay is still 17% lower than men’s, and for women working part-time, the gap is about 40%.
Cameron said one of the most potent tools in ending this “scandal” is much greater transparency.
Speaking at an Equal Opportunities Commission event in London, he said: “We need to challenge the culture of secrecy about pay that holds sway in too many British workplaces.”
“I know it is easier said than done in some situations. It’s no secret how much I earn. But many employees have no idea how much their co-workers are paid. It’s in this climate of concealment that unfairness can thrive. How can you challenge the facts if you’re not allowed to know them?”
Cameron acknowledged that complex situations will exist where it may not be possible or pertinent for people to know their colleagues’ salaries.
“But instead of asking ‘why should I be transparent?’, employers and employees should be asking ‘why not?’,” he said.
“Transparency should be the norm, not the exception. And all of us need to change our cultural attitudes to pay by being much more open.”