Quick fixes will not plug gender pay gap

I read Michael Millar’s article in Personnel Today about gender pay gaps in the HR profession with some interest (News, 21 September). As an HR manager in manufacturing, I am fully aware of the historic preference towards men in senior positions. This has obviously been reflected in HR. I am, however, concerned at the inference that HR professionals are in some way creating this situation through discrimination.

I think it would be more appropriate to study the ratio of women against men in HR manager positions (which has clearly grown in the past 10 years in women’s favour), and to compare starting salaries at management level for each gender. My guess is that such a study’s results would show that the inflated salaries for men are historic (those in a job for five years or more), that the majority of new recruits enjoy salary equity, but that many more women are recruited to the HR profession.

The nature of employment nowadays is that people move on quicker, and although there is a clear argument that you should be paid for the job you do, regardless of time served, there has always been an element of incremental pay that many of the long-term HR managers (mostly male) from years gone by will have benefited from.

The over-reaction in your report from some very senior people within the HR world will inflame the issue among the profession, and is likely to lead to an over-inflation of salaries all-round.

Let’s take a sensible approach to gender and salary and recognise the good work being done within the profession to remove historic inequality – and the education of long-term traditionalist directors and managers – rather than seeking irrational quick fixes.

Pete Smith

Frustrated HR manager

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