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We must stop making excuses about the gender pay gap

Figures have revealed the higher pay bands at national and regional organisations are domianted by men. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Figures have revealed the higher pay bands at national and regional organisations are domianted by men. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

If you really care about something, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse – or so the saying goes.

Picture: Philip Toscano/PA WirePicture: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

It is perhaps an adage that could be applied to our own companies and organisations regarding the gender pay gap.

Thanks to new legislation, all organisations with more than 250 employees must declare how much they pay men on average per hour compared to women.

While this is not the same as equal pay, the results do not make for comfortable reading for anyone who wants to see gender pay parity – which surely all of us, men and women, do.

In the UK the average gap for full and part-time workers in median earnings, considered to be the most representative indicator, is 18.4pc.

Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WirePicture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Many might think that is too high – men on average taking home nearly a fifth more than women – but in many Norfolk organisations, the gap is even larger.

There are, of course, valid explanations for some of the discrepancies.

Norwich City Football Club, for example, reports one of the highest mean average hourly pay gaps, at 76pc.

However its main business is men’s professional football where, like it or not, it has to offer high salaries to attract talent.

It must also be stressed that no-one is accusing companies of being discriminatory and paying women less than men for the same roles.

Statistics also show that most part-time roles are held by women, a significant contributing factor.

And we should congratulate those well below the national average, such as Thetford-based Baxter Healthcare where the median gap was just 0.7pc.

Time and again though, reading through gender pay gap reports you hear the same refrain – the gap partly exists because more men are in senior management positions than women.

This is not a reason we should be proud of. In fact, it is a problem on its own. Men are dominating the most senior positions, therefore benefitting more financially – even when I am sure there are women just as capable and willing to do them.

Clearly, people should be appointed on merit rather than gender and positive discrimination is just that – discrimination. But when so many companies are highlighting the same problem, there is a wider issue we cannot ignore.

Let’s please stop making excuses and find ways to get women into management roles. Our workplaces will be better for it.

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