Gender equality campaign calls for action, not rhetoric, on pay gap

Caitlin Logan

New data reveals that 15 per cent gender pay gap persists

POLICY AND ADVOCACY organisation Close the Gap has said it’s time for substantive action to address the pay gap, as its analysis of new figures shows the gap in Scotland remains the same as last year.  

Close the Gap, which aims to address the causes of women’s inequality in employment, has analysed UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for 2017 which reveals that women are still paid on average 15 per cent less per hour than men.

The analysis shows that the concentration of part time work in lower paid sectors is one, but not the only, factor in this gap.

READ MORE: Getting even: Six ways pay inequality could be tackled

Anna Ritchie Allan, Executive Director of Close the Gap said: “The figures make grim reading for working women in Scotland. There has been no change in women’s experiences of employment which finds them clustered into undervalued, low-paid jobs such as cleaning, caring and retail.

“We know the lack of quality part-time work particularly affects women, and results in their persistent under-representation in higher-paid, management and senior positions.

“Close the Gap has welcomed the new requirement for large companies in the UK to report their pay gap, but it doesn’t go far enough. Without taking steps to change their employment practice and reduce their pay gap, employers are missing out on under-used female talent.”

Comparing men’s full-time pay with women’s part-time pay, the pay gap rises to 31.7 per cent per hour. This highlights an issue with the valuation of jobs which more frequently offer part time roles, and a lack of flexibility and part-time opportunities in better paid jobs.

READ MORE: Job segregation a major cause of wage inequality, say women’s groups

While the mean hourly pay gap overall – including part-time and full-time work – between men and women is 15 per cent, the pay gap solely for full-time work is 11 per cent. This indicates that there are other factors resulting in a gender pay gap, even within full-time work.

Allan added: “The pay gap is an endemic problem which requires a cohesive, strategic response to address its many inter-related causes.

“We welcomed the Scottish Parliament Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee inquiry into the pay gap which recognised clear gains to Scotland’s economy worth up to £17bn. We also supported the Committee’s call for Scottish Government to develop a national strategy on the pay gap.

“It’s time to translate the rhetoric around the pay gap into substantive action, and create meaningful change for women.”

Close the Gap has produced a paper highlighting the economic benefits of addressing women’s labour market inequality.

Picture courtesy of helpsg

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