Earlier today we published a piece on the ‘gender pay gap’, linking to an intelligent article on the matter by a male journalist in the Express. I made some predictions on how organizations will ‘solve’ the non-existent problem of the ‘gap’. A stalwart commentator on our blog pieces, Groan, has worked in the public sector for over 30 years, and he had some very interesting points to make in a comment we’ve published, they take up the remainder of this blog piece:
Your 3 things that result have been a feature of Public Services in England for a decade or more as the result of Union Pressure in a highly Unionised labour force. In fact recently there have been successful cases mounted by mainly male workers (Parks and Gardens, Hospital orderlies and maintenance, drivers) challenging the wholesale pay cuts they experienced as part of Equal Pay Reviews. Having worked in councils and the NHS for over 30 years I thought I’d list the “positive action” (direct discrimination is actually illegal) now embedded in HR practices in Public Services (the services that are “unrepresentative” of the population because their workforces are nearly 80% female!)
Promote women at the expense of more able men
This is done through offering women only coaching or confidence courses (“Women into Management” Etc.) and/or targeting paper qualifications (offering bursaries or day release to women). And putting both or either in the “Person Specification” as either desirable or essential.
Increase the remuneration of women solely, regardless of merit
One common way of doing this is by having job or Role “evaluations” for individual posts or creating new posts and giving higher weighting to office skills and/or exaggerating responsibility levels of administrative staff. Good examples of these are the ones that get into the papers where the Job has highly suspect titles. Usually these include words like “Culture”, “Interface” “Client relationships” and of course “Equality” or “Cohesion” . Frequently quite peripheral administrative or PR Jobs given exaggerated importance (and Salary) in a management structure.
Increase remuneration in disciplines largely staffed by women (including Human Remains), while reducing remuneration in disciplines largely staffed by men, over time (maybe giving men lower annual increases
The most common way of doing this is by having job or Role “evaluations” throughout the workforce and giving higher weighting to office skills and/or exaggerating responsibility levels of administrative staff. In effect demoting more “hands” on work (usually the male roles actually or figuratively “getting their hands dirty”) Hence in public services clerical and administrative jobs are very much better paid (at the moment) than the private sector equivalents.
We can expect to see all these as Companies try to “do something” . It will be interesting to see if those companies who have a reverse pay gap (which is quite likely in some law firms, publishing, fashion, health or care firms) feel compelled to do something.
As no one will tell them I do think organisations like yours could keep reminding men that direct discrimination is illegal and that some of the “positive action” can and has been challenged successfully. Frankly the best ally the feminists have is men’s ignorance of the rights they do have.