Thursday, 4 November 2010

Let's keep the Man in Management shall we?

As the current edition of Management Today correctly points out, Tuesday of this week was ‘equal pay day’.
If the average woman was paid the same annual salary as she gets now, but at the same rate the average man is paid, she'd effectively have stopped earning money on Tuesday, despite the fact there’s nearly a sixth of the year still to go
To mark the occasion, women’s pressure group the Fawcett Society has produced a report calling on the Government to do more to encourage equal pay.

And how does Management Today respond? With the decisive and courageous verdict of :
But as ever, the issue is far from straightforward…
Let's remind ourselves of some of the facts on equality of pay between men and women.
  • Men earn an average of £16.07 per hour, women earn merely £13.43 – a difference of 16.4%.
  • In some sectors, notably air transport, financial services and textile manufacturing, the pay gap between men and women is even wider.
  • Despite the passing of the 1970 UK Equal Pay Act, which was intended to bring the pay of men and women into line at the current rate of progress it will take until 2067 before the gap between men and women managers is eliminated.
  • The average UK salary for a male manager is currently £10,031 more than that of a female manager.
  • At senior level male, pay outstrips female pay by as much as 24%.
  • Even at junior level the gap is significant, with male junior executives receiving £1,065 more than their female counterparts.
So in view of all this, what's Management Today's response to the evident inequality? Here are a selection of words used:
  • But it’s not necessarily that easy.
  • Figures are invariably skewed by women who choose to take time out to have children
  • Women may earn less than their male contemporaries because they have less experience.
  • ... even if the figures are correct ...
  • Many businesses simply don’t have the funds at the moment to up pay rates.
Most worrying of all is Management Today’s comment on the recent CIPD report which has predicted that Government cuts will be responsible for 650,000 job losses in the private sector:
If businesses started raising wages for women, the likelihood is that more jobs would be lost.
That's OK then. No argument. We'll just carry on with the inequality. We've done it for so long it would be a shame to change, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Hi!

    Few things. As the writer of the article in question, I totally take your point. I'm a feminist, and a business writer - and sometimes, it's difficult to balance the two, particularly when you're trying to champion businesses, many of which are currently struggling to pay their staff any kind of decent wage at all.

    One of the things we always try to do at MT is look behind the stats - so in this instance, why is it that there's still a massive pay gap? I know you don't like the 'far from straightfoward' verdict, but it really isn't straightforward at all. Merely pointing out that there's a gap clouds the issue, I think - because I think it's true to say that most business owners aren't misogynists (though some are - but I think the main problem lies in big business, where it's an institutional thing, rather than smaller firms). The problem with it is that the main burden of childcare still lies with women - who are then forced to take time off, and return to the same job at the same salary, when their male counterparts may have been given payrises during their absence. So it skews the results.

    To be honest, I'd love nothing more than to decree that all boards must be 50-50 male-female, women must henceforth always earn the same amount as men, all lapdancing clubs must be banned and the editors of Nuts and Zoo ritually humiliated for their crimes against women. But that would be ignoring more pressing issues. What needs to happen is a change in business' attitudes (more job sharing, as the Fawcett society suggests, more flexibility, etc), rather than a change in the law, which just goads people into changing their actions, rather than their attitudes – which is what really needs to happen. It’s a social thing, rather than a legal thing – but on the positive side, I really think it’s beginning to happen.

    Hope that elucidates!