Closing the Gender Pay Gap

James Coe Banner

This month the government released a report following consultation on how to address the gender pay gap in the UK.   In the build up to International Women’s Day CTA are looking at the role women play in the transport sector, the progress we have made in achieving gender equality, and the progress we are yet to make.  As part of this work we have looked at ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap’ consultation put out by the government.  The reports sets out government initiatives in tackling gender pay inequality in the work place.

What they’re saying:

In Britain today there are innumerable pieces of evidence that despite legislation women are still paid significantly less than men in the workplace.  This week the New Statesman highlighted that:

The TUC finds that the highest-paid men earn 54.9 per cent more than their female colleagues, the World Economic Forum finds that gender equality in the UK has steadily declined since 2006 and more than 60 per cent of those earning less than the living wage are women.”

The Fawcett Society point out that the current overall gender pay gap for full time workers is 13.9%.  They argue that the four factors that cause this gap are; discrimination, unequal caring responsibilities, low pay in ‘feminised sectors’ and men in the most senior roles.  Even more worryingly as Debra Charles, CEO of transport technologists Novacroft points out, women make up only 12.8% of the UK science technology engineering and mathematics workforce.

Given that the government have intervened on the gender pay gap and included this work as one of their manifesto promises there is clearly a problem that is not being addressed at present.  The government’s main tool to address this is compelling large organisations to publish data on their gender pay gap.

The government are looking into three broad areas to deal with the gender pay gap.   These are gender pay transparency, developing gender pay gap regulations and wider work to close the gender pay gap.

Gender Pay Transparency:

From 2018 organisations with over 250 employees will be required to disclose their gender pay gap.  The consultation noted that

“82% of employers and business organisations agreed that the publication of gender pay information would encourage employers to take action to close the gender pay gap. One-third of organisations strongly agreed. No organisations strongly disagreed. The majority of responses from individuals agreed or strongly agreed with the statement too.”

 

“The Young Women’s Trust conducted a survey to inform its response and found that 84% of the surveyed women (aged 16-30) would consider an employer’s gender pay gap when applying for a job. They also found that 80% would compare employers’ gender pay data when looking for work.”

 

Developing Gender Pay Gap Regulations:

As part of the consultation the government asked a number of employers what steps would be necessary to ensure an easy transition to comply with these new regulations.  A number of employers advocated for the possibility of a searchable database for potential employees to search for organisations.  Other suggestions were that employers should be able to also provide contextual evidence as well as financial data, this would enable employers to explain why there may be differences in instances of the split between part-time and full-time work.  The government anticipates that the regulation will affect around 7,960 employers with around 11.3million employees.  This represents 34% of the total workforce in Great Britain.  Clearly, these regulations have the potential for a huge impact across the workforce.

Wider Work to Close the Gender Pay Gap

In their consultation the government highlight that they have undertaken a number of initiatives already in closing the gender pay gap. They point to work such as investing in careers advice to encourage young people to seek out satisfying employment.  The government has additionally highlighted their campaign ‘Your Life’ in conjunction with £10million in ‘Developing Women Engineers’ and supporting women back into work as schemes which can all help to begin to close the gender pay gap.

What we’re saying:

It is important that we recognise and value the contributions of everyone in the workplace.  Clearly, the government has acknowledged that existing legislation is not sufficient in addressing the gender pay gap.  We believe that the community transport sector has a strong narrative on gender equality.  The Community Transport sector significantly outperforms the commercial sector in representation of women: the ratio of male to female heads of community transport organisations is 3:2 which compares favourably to the gender balance for managerial positions across the passenger transport sector where only 24% of managers are women, a ratio of 3:1.

We believe that there is an opportunity for the commercial and community transport sector to work closer together in addressing some of these issues and by sharing of best practice from both sides of the fence.

The CTA is keen to speak with commercial transport partners to develop mechanisms to increase diversity in our workforces.  We believe that there is important work we can do together in improving the working environment for both our employees, and transport users.

Finally, in the run up to international women’s day we are keen to promote the diversity of our sector.  Community transport provides services to a diverse range of people for a diverse range of reasons and we need to get better at celebrating our proud history of promoting social equality.  If you are a community transport provider we would love to hear about your experiences.  Please email James at james@ctauk.org

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