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Equal pay & gender pay gap

Equal pay & gender pay gap

© red engine

22 March 2018

A yawning gender pay gap favouring men has been revealed by media companies forced to publish data under new regulations.

An analysis by Press Gazette showed that 91 per cent of UK-based media companies paid men more than women on average, based on the mean hourly rate, and 85 per cent paid men more in mean bonus pay. At Condé Nast, publisher of  Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair,  the women’s mean hourly rate was 36.9 per cent, meaning women there earned 63p for every £1 that men earned (median 23.3 per cent). The Telegraph and Economist were also among the worst offenders.

Any organisation with 250 or more employees must publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed relative to men’s earnings.  Employers must publish their gender pay gap data and a written statement on their public-facing website and report their data to government online - using the gender pay gap reporting service.

Employers are not required to publish an explanation of the gap nor publish an action plan outlining how they intend to narrow it. The gender pay gap regulations do not require employers to identify where women are doing work of equal value to men, but not being paid the same.

What the media companies reported

According to the PR and Communications Census, produced by the PR and comms body PRCA in association with PRWeek, the gender pay gap in the industry has grown from 17.8 per cent in 2016 to 21 per cent and is the equivalent of £11,364 - or £2,253 more than it was two years ago. The widening gap comes despite the seven per cent increase in female MDs since 2016.

The Government Equalities Office has since published a "what works" guide, Reducing the gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations: evidence-based actions for employers to help put in place workplace policies and strategies to close the pay gap.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission report, Measuring and reporting on disability and ethnicity pay gaps, showed that the ethnicity pay gap is 5.7 per cent and called on Office for National Statistics to provide more data and guidance on for ethnic minority and disability monitoring. It also called on the government to require all employers with more than 250 employees to monitor and report on ethnicity and disability in recruitment, retention and progression within the workplace by April 2020 and  provide an action plan for ending any pay gap. Very few employers (3 per cent) publish data on their ethnicity or disability pay gaps.

.Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said:

"The gender pay gap figures revealed so far for news organisations and broadcasters make for very sober reading."
"They show the benefit of having greater transparency in order to combat unfair wages and the exploitation of women in the workplace. The act of companies being forced to reveal the true respective positions of men and women in their workforce has shed a light on pay inequity, a scourge in the media industry.
"Women are realising in many workplaces that they have been short-changed and with the NUJ’s support are setting about righting that wrong. The NUJ is now providing information to reps so they can challenge and work with their employers to reduce the pay gap and put in place workplace and recruitment policies which will help women win promotion and get the pay they deserve.  We are calling on companies to take on more women on their boards."

When the BBC was first forced to publish the salaries of those who earned more than £150,000, only one third of the list (which did not include people who work for the corporation, but are paid through independent companies) were women and only 10 of the 96 were non-white. It soon became clear that many women believed they were being paid less than their male counterparts and the NUJ is now dealing with almost 150 claims of unequal pay.

This greater transparency forced upon companies has proved useful for unions to challenge employers on their gender pay gap and seek to work with them to put in place policies to eliminate it. Even If your company has fewer than 250 employees, your NUJ chapel should ask for the information to be made available.

Ask for the different gender pay gaps by workforce, by pay grade, job description, in starting salaries, by ethnicity, using both the median and the mean, and also to measure the full-time and part-time gaps separately. The NUJ is encouraging chapels to organise pay audits to provide them with their own information on pay. 

The Equality Act 2010 gives men and women the right to be paid the same for carrying out:

  • Like Work – work that is the same or broadly similar
  • Work Rated as Equivalent – under a job evaluation study
  • Work of Equal Value – equal work in terms of the demands made on both the claimant and comparator by reference to factors such as effort, skill and decision-making.

In the case of a female complainant she would need identify a male comparator who is or who she suspects is being paid more for doing like work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value (or in the case of a man, a female comparator).

The TUC's gender pay gap reporting guide gives more information on the regulations and tips for unions in negotiating with employers, pay bargaining strategies and a checklist of the elements required for a good pay system.

The latest TUC Equality Audit provides some great examples of union campaigns and collective bargaining which have led to the gender pay gap being narrowed.

The NUJ will be writing to some media employers to ask them for an explanation of their gender pay figures and what they intend to do. But it is an ideal time for the chapel to call for a meeting with their employers to discuss the gap and make it a recruitment issue.

An analysis of official statistics published by the TUC shows that the gender pay gap is at its widest when a woman hits 50, when the average woman working full-time will earn £8,421 a year less than the average full-time working man.

Huge gender gap revealed in the media industry: NUJ calls on chapels to challenge their managements.
Angry about your company’s gender pay gap? Here’s what to do next


Tags: , equality, equal pay, real lives, gender pay gap, pay audit, equality act 2010

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