Gender gap continues

Women still suffering from pay differentials

Money - own picPay differentials between men and women are closing but remain substantial despite efforts to bridge the gender gap.

A new study says women who return to work part-time after having a baby continue to earn less than men and the gap steadily widens to as much as 33% of male pay rates.

According to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies women miss out on promotions, thereby holding back their earning power.

Young female workers, before they become mothers, typically earn 18% less per hour than men of similar age, according to the IFS research.

After returning to work following the birth of a first child, that wage difference per hour rises steadily.

The starting pay gap between men and women has steadily narrowed from 28% in 1993, 23% in 2003 to the current 18%.

The government has announced that from next year 8,000 employers with more than 250 staff will have to reveal the number of men and women in each pay range, and show where the pay gaps are at their widest.

Another report from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows Scotland has the UK’s worst gender pay gap.

Females in management roles are paid almost £11,000 less on average than their male counterparts.

The study has also found Scots-based women were among the UK’s biggest losers when it comes to earning bonuses receiving considerably less then men who were also more likely to secure promotion.

The research shows the gender pay gap in Scotland is 29.2%, representing a £10,862 difference in salaries between men and women in equal positions.

Elaine McIlroy, an employment partner at Weightmans (Scotland) said the Scottish gender pay gap should be a wake-up call for employers in preparation for mandatory reporting requirements that will be in force next year. 

“Although a gap in pay does not always mean that the gap is unlawful, there will be a great deal of scrutiny on employers to explain any gap and what they are doing about it,” said Ms McIlroy.

“It is inevitable that more reporting and scrutiny in this area will lead to more equal pay litigation- and disgruntlement amongst staff unless any gaps can be explained. 

“Employers can be proactive in this difficult area, performing audits now in order to be ahead of the curve.  This will enable them to identify any discrepancies or risk areas and to address these before reporting becomes mandatory. 

“Practical steps might include increasing objectivity in bonus decision making for example, by basing decisions on measurable performance indicators.  Where there is significant discretion involved, good record keeping and analysis of overall bonus results might become more important than ever.”

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