Equal Pay Day and why 50% of your colleagues might not be in tomorrow

Today is the day when all of us women can pop on our coats, grab our bags and face the cold, horrible commute home for the last time this year.  And let’s face it, this year has been pretty terrible. With Brexit, yesterday’s US election results and what seems like the death of most of our favourite celebrities, I’m not actually that opposed to calling time on 2016. I’d quite like to set up camp at home, with my slippers, a vat of tea and the new John Lewis advert on repeat until 2017 appears.

But why should women get to pack up for the rest of the year and leave our male colleagues to battle on working through the cold winter months? Well, it’s simple: they’re getting paid for it. And we’re not.

In the UK, the difference between the average salaries earned by male and female workers means that women pretty much stop getting paid today. On average, we earn 13.9% less than our team mates or 86.1p for every £1 they earn.  A survey by the Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR shows that the average salary for a full-time professional woman is £30,612, while a male colleague in the same job takes home £39,136.

Considering women won the right for equal pay in 1970 (a whole 47 years ago), it seems a bit strange that in 2016 we’re still struggling with a pretty large gender pay gap. Big legal cases are still hitting the news in both the public and private sector, showing that women are still having to fight for the right to earn the same salary for doing the same job.

Some critics suggest that the gender pay gap is weighted by an increased tendency for women to work in low-wage jobs, but, for us, that begs the question of what organisations are doing to boost diversity and help women to work in higher-paid jobs – no matter what biological imperatives might mean in our personal lives. It’s worth looking the article in our last thinkBox magazine by Jo Swinson  – the prominent former minister and leading voice in the debates on workplace and gender equality. We know that equality is good for businesses across the globe and we know what we can do to start making the shift towards a more equal and fair society – so why isn’t it happening? I’ll leave it to her to explain.

These statistics are driving people like Jo to urge the government to hurry up on releasing the detail behind the legislation forcing businesses to report on their own gender pay gap which will become law from April next year. Hopefully, when businesses are made to publicise their own performance on pay equality, we’ll start to see a lot less talk, and a lot more action to make it disappear. I really don’t think we can afford to wait another 50 years.

I must say, I was looking forward to taking the rest of the year off and getting all my Christmas prep done in time to truly enjoy the 24/7 showings of Christmas films on the dedicated True Christmas channel. But, I’ve looked to it and discovered that at K&B we don’t have a gender pay gap, so I will be scraping the ice off my windscreen at 7am tomorrow just like my male colleagues.

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Posted on 10th November 2016 in Culture&Insight
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