There has been growing concern at the gross distortions between the rate of pay of those at the very top of companies and that of those who work for them. This is just one of the ways in which inequality has increased over time. The Equality Trust campaigned to have more transparency, in the belief that transparency would allow us (and other stakeholders) to measure the problem. Unfortunately, transparency itself is not enough to effect change, and last year the highest paid CEO in the country was earning more than 18,500 people on the minimum wage. They were earning £40 per second!
Meanwhile after nearly 50 years of equal pay legislation, we see that the average gender pay gap is still in the region of 18%. Gender Pay Gap reporting became mandatory last year, and we are monitoring the impact of these changes. More importantly we are trying to put together a coalition that can effect lasting change. We are particularly concerned that the gender pay gap reports almost always assume that there is not a ‘equal pay’ issue (rather assuming that while women are paid fairly for the work they do, for historical reasons women have not been promoted into higher grade work).
What are we striving to achieve?
We want to see concerted efforts by shareholders, trade unions, ethical consumers, regulators and politicians to dramatically reduce the gender pay gap. In particular, we want to see mandatory Equal Pay audits for those companies with a significant gender pay gap. We will align this campaign with the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act which first became law in 1970.
Irrespective of the gender pay issues, we also want to see a more equitable distribution of pay within organisations, reducing the ratio of high pay to low pay within organisations.
Watch this space for upcoming events and opportunities to be involved in building pressure to effect real change as part of #equalpay@50
This project has been funded by the Friends Provident Foundation