CIPD backs equal pay report

The Women and Work Commission was right to reject compulsory equal pay audits and to focus instead on the issues that contribute to the persistent gender pay gap, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Equal pay audits alone will not reduce disparities between men and women in the workplace. It is only when employers explore the underlying issues that processes can be improved and fairness achieved, the CIPD argued.

Dianah Worman, CIPD diversity adviser, said: “Legislation is often seen as the main lever for change with reference to discrimination in the workplace, but those arguing for compulsory pay audits need to recognise that it is not always the answer. It can often lead to ‘lowest common denominator’ solutions to complex problems.

“Legislation alone will not change culture and attitudes, and is likely to lead to a minimalist, box-ticking approach that does not tackle the underlying problem or provide true fairness for women at work.”

Employers need to explore the underlying issues that are often highlighted in equal pay audits, such as poor diversity training, weak performance management systems and biased appraisal processes in order to create a culture based on fairness, Worman said.

John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general and one of the commissioners, said the report “offers to open doors for current and future generations of women”.

“The gender pay gap has closed significantly since the 1970s from 37% to only 13% today – but too many women do not reach their full career potential, with both social and economic consequences,” he said.

“Women’s childcare responsibilities are the key cause of the pay gap. Employers welcome the report’s recommendations to ensure that part-time work is not seen as a second class option and to give women returners the training they need to access better paid jobs.”

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