Wednesday, 13 October 2010

EHRC: Work towards equal pay halts

Continuing with the Equality Act theme on the jml Training blog, we have today come acroos the following article on the "Women in technology" website.

EHRC: Work towards equal pay has 'halted'
Work among businesses and the government to close the gender pay gap "appears to be grinding to a halt", the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has concluded.

It has published a new report, titled How fair is Britain?, compiling evidence on discrimination and disadvantage in the UK.

Among its findings, it revealed that long-standing inequalities such as equal pay between men and women have not yet been resolved.

This comes as the Equal Pay Act marks its 40th anniversary and while the new Equality Act is still in its first month.

Pay gap widens with age

According to the EHRC's figures, the average pay gap between the sexes in 2009 was 16.4 per cent, while women over 40 years earn 27 per cent less than their male counterparts.

However, the report did find that in some areas the gender divide is lessening, most notably in managerial and professional roles, although women are more likely to be employed in the public sector (40 per cent of women compared to 15 per cent of men).

One in three managerial roles in the UK is occupied by women, the report found.

Trevor Phillips, chair of the EHRC, commented: "This review holds up the mirror to fairness in Britain. It is the most complete picture of its kind ever compiled.

"It shows that we are a people who have moved light years in our attitudes to all kinds of human difference, and in our desire to be a truly fair society, but that we are still a country where our achievements haven't yet caught up with our aspirations."

He added that in the 21st century there is still a danger of "a society divided by the barriers of inequality and injustice".

Factors affecting the pay gap

What the report does stress, however, is that there are factors that contribute to the pay gap, including "lower pay in sectors where women are more likely to choose careers, the effect of career breaks and limited opportunities in part-time work".

"The level of earnings penalty is strongly mediated by levels of education but is not eliminated, even for the best-qualified women," it added.

This has led Tracy Corrigan, assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph, to suggest that lower pay is down to the choices women make and could now reflect the right level when periods away from work are considered.

Ms Corrigan suggested that a smaller gender pay gap still exists because women "aren't very good at asking for money".

In an article for the newspaper, she commented: "In my experience, men are much better at negotiating their pay, partly because they are healthily unembarrassed about asking for more, and partly because they tend to overestimate how much they are worth."

womenintechnology has a dedicated careers advice service for women, graduates and experienced professionals looking for technology and IT jobs.

See more of their Equal Opportunities articles and news reports HERE

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