Accessibility Normal font size Medium font size Large font size

Bored of Gender Pay?

Bored of Gender Pay?

I get asked many questions about diversity and inclusion in my role as a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant.

 

Why should we bother with all this inclusion nonsense?

 

It's all political correctness gone mad, isn't it?

 

We spend too much time and energy protecting other people, they should learn to get on with it surely? 

 

This pay gap nonsense has been caused by a load of moaning ladies who need to just keep quiet?

 

Yes, all of these have been thrown at me over the years, often by people who we really would think to know better.

But, is anyone bored of the gender pay gap? While I am not bored of one of the most critical business discussions we have had for some years, I am beginning to get tired of some of the inflammatory and nonsensical press coverage we have seen and a lack of thought about what we do next.

 So, yesterday Ryanair revealed the "Worst gender pay gap in the airline industry" the gender pay gap at Ryanair was considerably higher than that previously published by Easyjet. When Easyjet published their results they were given a pretty rough ride in the media.

If we look at the airline industry for just a moment, Jet2 have announced a mean gender pay gap of 53.5% with British Airways reporting 35%. Now, the thing is while all of these businesses operate in the same sector, they are very different beasts. I think it is advisable to exercise some caution when reading some of the headlines.

Are we as a society encouraging young people to reach for the skies? Will we ever achieve true gender equality? Think back to when you were a child, what did you dream of doing? I used to dream of being a racing driver. I even once decided I wanted to be a murder detective although, I am not sure how that ambition formed itself. 

We have seen all manner of experts, and public figures wadding into the gender pay gap and voicing their views. Theressa May has vowed to what she has described as a "burning injustice", Given the Government's track record for dealing with issues of diversity I shall not hold out much hope. 

I think it is safe to say that when the results are all finalised, we will all be in for some uncomfortable reading but, some of the findings we have seen so far rightly or wrongly seem rather obvious don't they? First of all, the gap varies between sectors, and the finance sector is one of the worst offenders. To my mind, those two findings seem pretty obvious.

Earlier, I asked you to think about your ambitions when you were a child. How many of you dreamt of being a pilot? How many of you wanted to race in Formula One? Did anyone else dream of becoming a murder detective I wonder?

My point is when you read that according to an Easyjet staff survey most of their male pilots had decided on their career choice at an early age yet, female pilots were not encouraged to consider it as a possibility until they had left school is this not part of the problem? Are schools not guilty of occupational segregation whereby we are focusing on outdated ideas?

Statistics are all well and good, the gender pay gap reporting has been a brilliant method of stimulating conversation, but, we need to focus, learn from this, and do something about it.

What Now?

1 - We need to take time to carefully consider the results of the gender pay gap, avoiding rushing into a multimillion-pound Government initiative or projects fueled by headlines which have no defined objectives or accountability.

2-We need to look at things in context. Are we comparing like with like? Are we criticising specific industries or companies without truly understanding the reasons for a gender pay gap? 

3-Is enough being done in schools and as a society to encourage people to think about the careers they could achieve? Are the big players in industries doing enough to promote applications from both genders?

4- Is the fact that we have one of the most expensive childcare costs in the world a factor? What can be done about this? Perhaps if Theressa May is going to throw herself into the debate she could look at reforming this.

Just a few things to think about