The Importance of Gender Equality in the Workplace

With new payment equality legislation firmly in place we thought we'd reprint a post we first published more than a year ago which seems more relevant now than it did then...

In modern times the laws are in place, but there still remains gender inequality across the workplace.

An interesting article by Mark Beatson looks at the new CIPD research report on gender diversity in the boardroom. The report was launched to industry figures in London. Some of the key highlights were:

– Should there be a statutory quota of a minimum proportion of women on the boards of large companies? Perhaps not everybody aspires to be on the board of a FTSE250 Company, but the lack of diversity in these top organisations should matter to all of us for 2 reasons:

  1. There have been many studies to show that if there is diversity in a decision making group then they will often make different decisions. It makes good sense; a group comprised of people with a multitude of backgrounds and outlooks is bound to approach problems from a wider set of perspectives.
  2. It is the Directors of organisations who shape the company culture. Get the company culture right and you stand a good chance of having a successful business.

– Company culture needs to continue to change if the gap between men and women in pay and career opportunities is to diminish. The 2013 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows the age where the gap commences:

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The chart shows average earnings for men and women by individual age in 2013.  The pay gap stays very small through the 20s and early 30s. Average earnings for women peak at age 34, but then with many women having children the earnings start a downward trend and never recover. The average earning s for men peak at age 50. This analysis is a cross-section of people in 2013. Women now, on average, have better qualifications than men and there is more support for maternity pay, leave and access to flexible working. Even so, the chart shows, at a high level, the impact of having a family.

– A further factor explaining the gender pay gap is the tendency for men and women to cluster together by industry type and line of work. This is known as occupational segregation. Over the years there have been many equal pay claims on the basis that the jobs done by women in a particular industry have not been paid as well as similar jobs done by men in male orientated industries.

– Gender segregation has been a popular area of analysis. The CIPD now has almost 30 years of data. The chart below asks the following questions:

In your workplace, is your type of job done …

  1. almost exclusively by men
  2. mainly by men
  3. by a fairly equal mixture of men and women
  4. mainly by women
  5. or, almost exclusively by women

gender-segregation 300w" sizes="(max-width: 564px) 100vw, 564px" />

Back in 1986, 85% of men said their type of work was done mainly or almost exclusively by men and almost no men did ‘women’s work’.  Over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic change. Partly this is due to changes in company culture and resulting recruitment practices. It may also be because some of the very segregated industries, e,g. Parts of manufacturing have seen many job losses. Surprisingly, even in 2012, more than half of men and women still said their work was mainly or almost exclusively done by people of their own gender.

At ISL Recruitment we recognise the importance of gender equality and showing the younger generation successful female and male role models.

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