Why women are now working for free for the rest of the year

10 November 2017 -

Gender Pay GapEqual pay day reveals shocking reality of the gender pay gap

Matt Scott

The 10 November 2017 marks equal pay day, the day from which all women in the UK are working for free until the end of the year, as a result of a lack of gender pay parity.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke urges businesses not currently publishing their pay gap data under new government regulations to do so in an effort to help close the gap and achieve pay parity.

“Equal Pay Day for all women is 10 November, but falls earlier in the year the higher up the career ladder you go,” she says. “According to CMI’s research, there’s a 27% gender pay gap among the UK’s 3.3 million managers, where men outnumber women three to one. The lack of progress for women into more senior roles is one of the biggest causes of this pay gap. There’s a huge prize for businesses that get this right, because equal representation of men and women could add £150bn to the UK economy in the next ten years.

“Transparency is a great driver for change. We urge the 98% of businesses that have yet to publish their pay gap data under the new government regulations to step up and put plans in place to fix the issue.”

Why are women behind?

Francke’s rallying call comes as research from the Cranfield School of Management shows that the proportion of women holding the most influential non-executive positions has not changed significantly over the last decade.

The research finds that the number of women in roles such as such as chairman and senior independent director, is just 8%, compared with 6% a 10 years ago.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn says: “Too much of the focus has been on the non-executives of listed firms, not the day-to-day leaders of our biggest businesses. And at times of great change it’s all too easy to let things slip backwards.

“This must not be allowed be happen.”

Similarly, the Gender Salary Survey from CMI/XpertHR , also found a lack of promotion opportunities was one of the main reasons behind the gender pay gap.

Are we making progress on equality?

In 2016 the Hampton-Alexander Review was launched, setting a voluntary target of 33% of FTSE 100 boardroom seats to be held by women by 2020.

In the FTSE 100, 30% of this year’s boardroom appointments have been women, compared to 34% for the FTSE 250, but this figure needs to increase to almost one in two if these companies are to be successful in meeting their 33% target.

Sir Philip Hampton, who had been conducting the review with Dame Helen Alexander is now extending the 33% voluntary target to include FTSE 250 companies, where the proportion of women currently holding boardroom roles stands at 22.8%.

“We are making progress towards the targets set out in November 2016, but it’s fair to say that the pace of change will need to quicken if we are to hit the targets,” he said.

What can women do?

According to Angela Owen FCMI, senior advisor to PA Consulting Group and board member of CMI Women, in their day-to-day working lives women should adopt the philosophy: ‘What you allow is what will continue.'

Her advice for aspiring and experienced managers is: “If you want that next role or pay rise, you have to be prepared to ask for it.”

CMI Women: The reactions, the data + your 25 (often very surprising) gender bias fixes

“A pay rise or new role discussion is a negotiation and the best negotiations work through collaboration rather than adversarial meetings,” she said. “Women at great at collaborating! Your boss is unlikely to be a mind-reader but she or he will feel responsible for ensuring that you are fulfilled at work. So share the issue – the fact that you feel undervalued – and work together to see what can be done. You will feel so good simply because you've found the courage to speak up.”

Webinar: Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations

Sign up for this 45-minute webinar that will set out what the gender pay gap is, the business benefits of tackling it and actions you can take to close it. The webinar will offer practical advice for employers and managers on the reporting requirements, and give you a chance to ask representatives from the Government Equalities Office questions about the new reporting process.

Heather Melville OBE CCMI, Chair of CMI Women, will also explain the benefits of tackling the gender pay gap in your organisation. 

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