Achieving women’s equality in the workplace, is proving a really tough-nut to solve, and in the UK right now the subject is a very hot one. The reason is that the government is now requiring for the first time ever, that all organisations above a certain size, provide data on their performance on women’s equality in the workplace. Gender pay gap information must in fact be submitted online, by this weekend (8 April 2018).
The data each company must provide on women’s equality in the workplace for their business, must include the relative proportion of male and female employees. It also includes any differences between the pay of men and women employed in general, and for those men and women engaged in equivalent roles.
The data entered so far shows that the results are disappointing for women’s equality in the workplace, and the divide between men and women in the workplace, is much wider than had been expected.
UK law has for many years required that the sexes be treated equally, so this result has to be seen as a major failure of the legislation. Many people have pointed out that the law on sexual equality in the workplace has not been enforced.
Complete sexual equality in the workplace is unlikely ever to be achieved in certain industries. An example of that is the airline industry. At this time, far fewer women than men seem to wish to fly aircraft, and vice-versa for cabin-staff. Airlines should not be excessively criticised for wide differences. Nevertheless, even companies such as these, should strive for greater equality in the workplace.
So Why is It proving So Hard to Achieve Women’s Equality in the Workplace?
Everyone accepts that the reasons are complex.
We believe that the reasons are deep seated, and that the following may be important factors.
When you are growing up you may have had a dream about what you wanted to be when you reached adulthood. Many times those dreams change year by year until you finally decide on your true career choice. Though sometimes people stumble, and they never get where they wanted to go, there are also many people who work very hard to get to the job of their dreams, and succeed.
In this, men and women are very much the same, but some people get so caught up in the process that they miss many career opportunities along the way. It is women, in particular that tend to suffer in this way.
For whatever, reason they tend not to have the same level of self-confidence as men. This means that they don’t to put themselves forward, or they may consider that as a second wage earner in a marriage that they should stay close to home and as secure in their post as possible. This is due the need to be able to be close to children while working, and be able to take time off to attend any domestic crises, which may from time to time occur, with their children.
Over time, their employer will tend to view these as reliable staff, but not the right material necessarily for promotion. This quite often means that they tend to pay them less than their contemporaries, and this pay difference worsens time goes on and salaries are annually reviewed.
This is often a time when the theory of equal opportunity for women at work fails, and as these discrepancies in pay do tend to be revealed over-time, job satisfaction begins to fall. Many women may even question their decision to begin a career at all.
Those who work really hard are often the ones who get promoted, but women who stay-put to be close to children at school may not work as hard.
In addition, sometimes both men and women get so involved with what they are doing every-day, that they miss the career opportunities that are right in front of their noses. This is unhelpful when equal opportunities for women are at stake. Once again, women are more prone to this particular form of shortsightedness than men.
Some people work hard at their jobs and perform them very well, but they are not aggressive enough to realise that they should be fighting a little harder to get what they want. This applies both to promotions and salary levels.
At other times, people are so loyal to the company they are working for, that they miss other great career opportunities that may be open to them with other businesses.
Both men and women have to keep an eye on their career options all the time. You may be content in your current position, or you may be thinking that you will soon get a promotion. But, that does not mean that things will stay that way, or that you should hang-on waiting for a promotion if it does not arrive when expected.
It is invariably in your best interest to network with other people in your field, and to watch and listen for job openings that may end-up being great career opportunities for you. Women are very good at networking, but we would wager are less likely than men, to see it as a direct asset to employ to their benefit when seeking career advancement.
Many times, career opportunities pass by even the best candidates simply because they were not aware of them, and we would guess that more often than not it is the women which tend to suffer from this form of opportunity blindness.
When you begin to feel frustrated in your current position, you should always be on the lookout for career opportunities.
There is no difference in this between men or women. You may find that what you thought was a great job is actually something that is making you feel very frustrated. If so, Ladies, do make sure that you take action!
You may want to look into career opportunities elsewhere, to see if there may be jobs in another direction which you want to try out, within your career. Take time to ponder on what you saw as your life fulfilment aims when you were younger.
Where you wanted to go when you started out, and where you end up when you finish, maybe two completely different places. That’s perfectly OK, as long as where you finish up is where you want to be when you get there. If you have a goal which is not being met, it is best to take a grip on reality and if necessary make waves in your workplace, or leave.
Ladies! Don’t accept compromises which make you unhappy. We think that men on-average are less likely to soldier on in such circumstances! It’s one of those reasons that achieving women’s equality in the workplace, or even coming close, has so far eluded most nations.
Change is a part of life, and it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, “change really is what you make it“. If you are at unhappy about where you are, make sure you go out and find what will make you happy!
Of course, this is not to say that employers have a duty to do their utmost to ensure that their organisations provide equal pay for equal job responsibility and value, but at the same time, we firmly believe that achieving women’s equality in the workplace, is a two way matter which both women and employees must strive to do much better in.
The UK Companies Reporting the Biggest Gender Pay Gaps
What is being published?
All companies and some public sector bodies in Great Britain, except Northern Ireland, with more than 250 employees had to report their gender pay gap to the Government Equalities Office. All companies were due to report by 4 April 2018.
What is the gender pay gap?
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women. The figure is expressed as a proportion of men’s earnings. According to the ONS (UK Office of National Statistics), [before the data submission exercise completed in early April 2018] the gap between what UK male and female workers earn – based on median hourly earnings for all workers in 2017 – stood at 18.4%, up from 18.2% from a year earlier. The mean gender pay gap is 17.4%. via The UK companies reporting the biggest gender pay gaps