Only last week the Civil Service reported an 11% gender pay gap. Then followed massive exposure in both the UK entertainment and sporting industries, most prevalent was the naming and shaming of the pay culture at the BBC – one of our nation’s most treasured corporations.
Carrie Gracie, one of the BBC’s most senior journalists, working as a China editor, accused the corporation, in an open letter to BBC license fee payers (that’s a reach of approximately 95% of the UK adult population) of having a “secretive and illegal” pay culture. She made some pretty powerful claims, including that it is “not living up to its stated values of trust, honesty and accountability”. Her comments that followed in an interview highlighted further the problems within the BBC where up to 200 women have complained to management about pay. In a genuinely poignant act, Carrie Gracie resigned after declining a pay rise from £135,000 to £180,000 a year offered to her.
UK Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Up until now, many companies have a hush-hush policy on revealing their staff’s salaries, allowing them to pay different sums to different workers for the same job, such as those highlighted by Carrie Gracie at the BBC. However, by 4 April 2018, every UK organisation with 250 employees or more must publish their gender pay gap. This is fantastic news for women as with this level of transparency surely accountability must follow.
The UK Gender Pay Gap Statistics
The good news is that the UK gender pay gap is slowly closing. In 1997 the UK average pay gap was a whopping 17.4%, compare that to 2017 at the smaller, but still significant 9.4%. This means that organisations and the government are taking action, voices are being heard, but there’s still a long way to go before we reach a level playing field and women should not have to wait another 20 years to achieve this. It will be interesting to see how the new regulations put in place for large organisations to reveal the pay gap will affect the pay scale. Or will it take more of these high-profile naming and shaming or public resignation acts from women in high places to completely close the pay gap?
“…unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.” Beyonce
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