By Lyndsey Hall
Having achieved Lord Davies’ target of getting a woman onto every board in the FTSE 100 by 2015, the Prime Minister is now looking to tackle the gender pay gap on a broader scale.
The government has announced plans to force large firms to disclose information on the salaries of staff, exposing any pay gaps between staff in identical roles. Cameron hopes the move will “pressure” firms into paying female employees equal to their male counterparts, eliminating the gender pay gap “within a generation”.
David Cameron wants to “cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up”.
According to the Office for National Statistics’ annual survey last November, the gap between men and women’s pay was the narrowest it had been since records began 18 years ago. The difference dropped from 10 per cent the previous year to 9.4 per cent. Back in 1997 this figure was 17.4 per cent.
The pay gap is worked out by taking the median gross hourly pay of men and women working fulltime, and subtracting one from the other. The difference in pay is greater the higher the salary, with the highest-earning men making 18.3 per cent more than the equivalent earning women.
In Northern Ireland, the gender pay gap is actually in the favour of female workers, due to the large public sector; which tends to be better paid than the private sector, and the majority of jobs are held by women.
During the last Parliament, the coalition legislated to force firms with 250 or more employees to publish the average wages of male and female employees, with the measures to be introduced within a year. Now, the Conservative government are pressing ahead with the move, despite initially opposing it.
With greater transparency from large firms, and the introduction of a National Living Wage which will boost lower-paid jobs, we could see the gap closing even further in the next 5 years.
What do you think about Cameron’s move to tackle pay inequality? Would you welcome the disclosure of average salaries by big businesses? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter or leave us a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
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