Confidence in equality of pay often misplaced

Nine out
of 10 HR managers are certain that they pay their male and female staff fairly
but this confidence is often misplaced, the Equal Opportunities Commission has
said.

Early
findings of research on organisational pay practices commissioned by the EOC
show that public sector employers have the best record in ensuring that their
pay systems are not biased, but are the least confident. The EOC puts this down
to a higher awareness of the barriers to be overcome.

Manufacturing
industries were found to be the most complacent, regarding their pay systems as
fair, although they had no evidence.

Of the 301
HR managers surveyed, 54 per cent were very confident and 39 per cent were
fairly confident that their pay systems were fair. However, only 35 per cent
had analysed basic pay by gender.

Forty per
cent of HR managers, all from organisations with more than 200 employees, said
they monitored the respective pay of men and women. In public sector companies,
59 per cent carried out such monitoring, compared to 33 per cent in the service
sector and 27 per cent in manufacturing. The full report is due to be published
next month.

Julie
Mellor, chair of the EOC, said, "We need a concerted effort by all
employers in all sectors to speed up the pace of change. This research shows
that although some employers are taking steps to achieve gender equality in
pay, many others are not doing enough and some are not doing anything."

Terry
German, president of the Society of Chief Personnel Officers in Local
Government, said, "We are currently grappling with becoming single status
employers, which means all employees are treated the same. This has thrown up
some issues of equal pay that are having to be addressed through job
development schemes."

Early next
year the EOM’s Equal Pay task force will produce a comprehensive blueprint for
action for employers, unions and the Government.

By Lisa Bratby

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