Are Pay Cuts the Solution to Bridging the Gender Pay Gap?
According to the Office of National Statistics, women are estimated to make up 47% of the UK work force. Over the years there have been several pieces of legislation aimed towards having a positive impact on employment for women, including the 1970 Equal Pay Act; the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act; the 1975 Employee Protection Act; the 2008 Lone parents’ income support changes and the 2010 increase in State Pension Age for women. Despite all these efforts, we find that the gender pay gap remains as what has been preached has not been practiced, and that almost half of the UK workforce is treated unfairly in comparison to the other.
Following the deadline for all UK businesses with over 250 employees to report their current gender pay gap, The Guardian reported that almost eight in every 10 businesses and public sector bodies are paying men more compared to woman.
Across different sectors, to show commitment and solidarity with their female counterparts, some influencers have voluntarily offered to take pay cuts as a direct measure to tackle the gender pay gap. The head of one of Europe’s largest airlines, John Lundren from easyJet, took a £34,000 pay cut to match his salary to his predecessor, Carolyn McCall. Channel 4’s News host Jon Snow volunteered to take a 25% gender pay cut in an attempt to the close the gender pay gap at the broadcaster, and six male BBC presenters earning between £200k – £700k a year also agreed to pay cuts as a solution to gender disparity.
But when the BBC took to the streets of the UK to discuss the subject with men, an overwhelming majority was hesitant to volunteer to take any pay cuts to support women colleagues, but did have an alternate solution – instead of men offering to take pay cuts, businesses should increase salaries of women so that both genders feel equally valued in the work place.
The matter of bridging the gender pay gap is more complicated than merely appointing male colleagues to shoulder the responsibility. Businesses need to adhere to complete transparency and be completely able and willing to explain any discrepancies with their internal pay structure. Moreover, all businesses need to have proper analysis of the market rate for job salaries and offer clear pay brackets accordingly.
What do you think is a good solution to tackle the root of the problem? Should businesses work harder to encourage more women into the workforce by offering enticing benefits so that the differences in salaries as well as the concentration of male colleague in top management level positions can be addressed? Or is it a deeper social issue that needs to be addressed not just by businesses but as society as a whole to build a more equal environment in the workplace for both men and women alike.
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