Gender pay audits should be compulsory, says report

The
Government should make gender pay audits compulsory if it is serious about
closing the equal pay gap, according to an Industrial Society report.

Small
step or giant leap? Towards gender equality at work, published today, links the
gender pay gap, which currently stands at 18 per cent, with the problems women
face in reaching the top in business.

"Having
women in these [senior] jobs would help reduce the difference between male and
female earnings. But while top level positions remain largely two person
careers – defined by long hours and high workloads, regular travel and even
relocation, and assuming domestic support, typically a wife – they will carry
on being less accessible to women," said Dr Sam Hardy, policy specialist
at the Industrial Society and author of the report.

"If
we are serious about removing the pay gap, we must address the shortage of
women at the top of British firms," Hardy added.

The
report also calls on employers not to rely on an individual’s previous salary
details when setting pay levels for new jobs as this discriminates against
women who are likely to be earning less than male rivals.

Other
recommendations include equality training and an increase in union membership
among women.

“The
way we view, discuss and analyse inequality in the workplace is out of date and
apologetic. If we really want to remove the barriers to women in the workplace,
one of the first things we have to do is stop tinkering with a worn-out
engine,” said Hardy.

By Paul Nelson

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