A few gender pay comparisons

  1. Conservative Campaign headquarters reported that women’s median hourly rate is 15.7% higher than men’s, whilst the Labour Party recorded a median hourly rate for women 4% lower than men’s.
  2. The CBI reported that women’s median hourly rate is 15.1% lower than men’s, compared to Unite the Union’s gender gap of  29.6% lower in favour of men. The GMB’s Women’s median hourly rate is 32.4% lower than men’s and Unison’s women’s median hourly rate is 15.8% lower than men’s.
  3. The Royal College of Nursing has a median gender pay gap of 13.7% lower than men, whereas the General Medical Council has a median gap of  6.7% in favour of men. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has a women’s median hourly rate of 3.7% lower than men’s and the British Medical Association has a gap for women that is 13.6% lower than men’s.
  4. The Rugby Football Union reports that women’s median hourly rate is 6.6% lower than men’s, at the Football Association the women’s median hourly rate is 12.1% lower than men’s and the England and Wales Cricket Board has a Women’s median hourly rate which is 17% lower than men’s. At the Jockey Club, women’s median hourly rate is 23% higher than men’s.
  5. The Guardian News and Media has reported that women’s median hourly rate is 12.1% lower than men’s, The Times newspaper has a women’s median hourly rate is 12.7% lower than men’s. Associated Newspapers (home of the Daily Mail) has a Women’s median hourly rate is 15.4% lower than men’s, whereas at The Economist Women’s median hourly rate is 29.5% lower than men’s.
  6. The University of Cambridge has a gender pay gap where women’s median hourly rate is 15% lower than men’s, at the University of Oxford women’s median hourly rate is 13.7% lower than men’s. The University of Sunderland reports  that women’s median hourly rate is 20.9% lower than men’s, the gap at the University of Portsmouth is for women’s median hourly rate to be 23.3% lower than men’s.
  7. Bravissimo has a pay gap where women’s median hourly rate is 6.2% lower than men’s, Ann Summers has a women’s median hourly rate which is 21.6% lower than men’s. At Victoria’s Secret, women’s median hourly rate is 19.4% lower than men’s.

NB: The company median hourly pay gap for the UK is 9.8% in favour of men.

That’s not a gap, not if you look from over here…

The BBC ran an article this weekend highlighting the gender pay gaps of a number of companies that had already reported. The original article is here.

Already we’re starting to hear some interesting responses to the debate that it has raised:

It’s the wrong metric
The situation is complex
We shouldn’t confuse this with equal pay
Women aren’t as good at asking for raises
Sorting this could be bad for women

The over intellectualisation of the situation runs a massive risk of missing the unmistakable point:

The world of work has been designed to be discriminatory.

That’s not to say that individual organisations have gone out to structure their workforce in particular ways to discriminate against any specific group, just that the world of work over a number of decades has become biased in many different ways and we have been complicit by failing to interrogate it with the level of granularity that it required.

It is absolutely right to say that the issues are systemic in nature, for example the gender imbalance between pilots and crew isn’t (I would imagine) the result of direct discrimination. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t wrong and that it doesn’t need tackling.

My biggest fear on this issue is the level of mansplaining that is taking place to justify the figures. We are immediately looking at criticising the data, rather than embracing it. At the same time, we need to support and not belittle companies that are publishing gaps. Ultimately progress will be achieved over the next two or three years and that is when we should be judging people based on progress.

The factors that have led to the current situation are multi-faceted and complex. The solutions will be equally complex and multi-faceted. You don’t change a system overnight. But we will make absolutely no progress unless we accept the basic truth that we have a problem.

And that problem isn’t just about gender, it’s about race, disability, it’s about socio-economic background and ultimately it is about fairness. So let’s not try to explain it away, let’s walk forward together with confidence, courage and a single unifying purpose, to make our organisations better and fairer, for now and for the future.