Gender pay gap

Changing the gender pay gap system won’t help – let’s scrap it instead

My heart skipped a beat when I discovered the Royal Statistical Society was publishing a report, out today, which calls for the rules around gender pay gap reporting (companies with 250+ employees are mandated to calculate and publish this data by law) to be refined. As I wrote on Coffee House last week, the calculations are so crude and void of context, they render the results almost meaningless. They don’t take any like-for-like comparison on job, age, or education into account and don’t even control for full and part-time workers. As a result, the final figures are comparing the CEO of the FTSE 100 company to the junior researcher who

The problem with the gender pay gap obsession

Would we condone teaching a child that 1+1 = 3, for the sake of increasing her interest in maths? No. Would we praise flat earth theorists for getting people talking about the health of the planet? No. So why are we giving credence to meaningless and often deceptive gender pay gap statistics, which have us focusing on women’s issues in a way that is damaging to women? With Brexit-mania dominating our national debate, you may have missed that today is the deadline for large organisations to report their gender pay gap data. Now into the second year of reporting, it has become increasingly clear that the influx of data from the gender pay

Ross Clark

Gender pay gap hysteria could make things worse for women

Next time I hear a government minister on radio or television bemoaning Britain’s poor record on productivity I request that the interviewer puts to them a simple question: can you tell us how many man-hours have been spent by large British firms in fulfilling their legal duty to provide data on their gender pay gap – something which they must do by midnight tonight? Whatever happened to that grand talk about taking advantage of Brexit in order to deregulate, to attract investment by giving businesses the freedom to run their own affairs and by getting the government off their backs? In January last year Philip Hammond made a speech in

In normal times, the government would be boasting of falling unemployment

At any other time, news that Honda intends to close its Swindon plant in two years’ time with the loss of 3,500 jobs would have been seen for what it is: a tragedy for those affected, their families and businesses it supports. But the story was used by both sides in the Brexit wars to prove their point. Certain Remainers saw it as proof of what leaving the EU will bring, while some Leavers were almost callous in the way they shrugged off the closure. When news like this is being exaggerated for effect, it’s hard to form a clear view of what’s going on. But through the fog, a

Why is Sandi Toksvig on 40pc of Stephen Fry’s pay? It should be 10pc

Shocking news emerges that Sandi Toksvig is paid 40pc of what Stephen Fry was on to present the lamentable programme QI. Really? It had never occurred to me that Toksvig was paid anything at all. She is boring, smug and bereft of wit. I assumed she did it out of delight at being beamed into our living rooms, knowing that everyone was quickly turning off the TV. I’m no great fan of Stephen Fry – an idiot’s conception of what intelligence is, frankly. But he presented that programme with chutzpah and humour, both qualities patently absent from Sandi’s make-up. As is make-up, of course. Sandi also complained that she was

Women’s pay could bankrupt the BBC

I hope you are enjoying the BBC drama series Hard Sun. It is described as pre-apocalyptic science fiction, set in the present day UK. The head of MI5 is a Nigerian woman and everybody else in it lives in a mixed-race family — so, if you are a racist, you might well query that aforementioned description pre-apocalyptic: it’s upon us! The rest of us will simply think it’s ludicrous and bears no relation to the country in which we live, and might become irritated by the BBC forcing this PC social engineering down our throats at every possible opportunity. Although we may already have filled up our beakers of irritation

Barometer | 18 January 2018

Big losers Construction company Carillion collapsed with debts of £1.5 billion. How does that compare with other UK corporate failures? Overend Gurney & Co, a bank, collapsed in 1866 with £4 million in liabilities (£400 million at today’s prices). Polly Peck failed after a fraud probe with £100 million in debts (£217 million). Barings Bank failed in 1995 after rogue trader Nick Leeson ran up £827 million of losses (£1.55 billion). MG Rover failed in 2005, leaving behind £1.4 billion of debt (£2 billion). Northern Rock was saved in 2007 after the government provided emergency loans to the tune of £27 billion (£35.7 billion). Rough areas A petition called for

Equal pay matters – that’s why I have resigned as BBC China Editor

I have been a BBC journalist for three decades. With great regret, I have left my post as China Editor to speak out publicly on a crisis of trust at the BBC. The BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer. I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure. In thirty years at the BBC, I have never sought to make myself the story and never publicly criticised the organisation I love. I am not asking for more money. I believe I am very well paid already – especially as someone working for a

Barometer | 28 September 2017

Lost in the post Postcard maker J. Salmon is to close after almost 140 years, because holidaymakers now send phone selfies rather than cards. — What is believed to be the very first postcard was a selfie of sorts. It was a caricature of postal workers that practical joker Theodore Hook sent to himself in Fulham using a penny black stamp in 1840, the year the penny post was introduced. — It was another 30 years before postcards were officially accepted by the Royal Mail, and the now standard design of a picture on the front, address and message on the back was established only in 1902. — Mr Hook’s

Jacqueline Gold, founder of Ann Summers, on how she became one of Britain’s richest women

Ann Summers chief executive Jacqueline Gold has been credited with transforming the lingerie company into a more female-friendly business – and in the process has become Britain’s 16th richest woman, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List. So what was the key to her success? Gold believes that identifying a gap in the market was what turned Ann Summers into such a recognisable brand. ‘I knew that women were desperate to buy sexy lingerie and sex toys, but there wasn’t anywhere they could do that which offered a female-friendly, safe environment.’ she explains. ‘I spoke to friends and saw that we could replicate the popular concept of ‘at home’

The BBC sisterhood has made the ultimate sacrifice – and asked for a pay rise

The sisterhood is, apparently, ‘in full flow’ at the BBC. Since the publication last week of the salaries of its 96 highest paid presenters, discussion of the institution’s gender pay gap has filled air time and column inches. How can it be right that Clare Balding is paid less than Gary Lineker? Or that John Humphrys earns more than Sarah Montague? But if being paid less than their male colleagues wasn’t bad enough, female presenters must, it seems, also use their ‘strong and loud voices’ on ‘behalf of all’ to tackle the entrenched sexism endemic not just within the BBC but everywhere. In an open letter to the BBC’s Director

Single mothers, not wealthy presenters, are the real victims of the BBC’s gender disparity

There is a group of women who have every reason to feel aggrieved to learn that the BBC is paying Gary Lineker £1.8 million a year and John Humphreys between £600,000 and £650,000. But it doesn’t include Jane Garvey and Emily Maitlis, both of whom appear to be grubbing by on a little below £150,000. It is the 101,000 women found guilty last year of evading the TV licence. If you want a genuinely worrying gender disparity, forget the BBC’s highest-earners and look at the balance of people at the bottom of society who are being dragged through the courts for the non-payment of the tax. The Perry Review into the TV licence,

The gender pay gap isn’t just about sexism

‘More work needs to be done,’ is what people say whenever some unachievable social goal is shown to be another 200 years away. And it was said a lot this week after it emerged that women still earn 18 per cent less than men on average. As the Guardian reported: The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also found that the gap balloons after women have children, raising the prospect that mothers are missing out on pay rises and promotions. That was echoed by a separate report yesterday suggesting that male managers are 40 per cent more likely than female managers to be promoted. What’s odd is that almost nowhere in the supposedly

Sorry Jeremy, shouldn’t Labour’s gender equality review start at home?

Today Jeremy Corbyn has launched his campaign ahead of the Labour leadership election. Corbyn, who is being challenged by Owen Smith, used the launch to announce that — under him — the next Labour government would introduce compulsory pay audits for companies with more than 21 staff — in order to show whether or not they are discriminating against female employees. However when asked by Sky News if this meant he would publish an equal pay audit for his own office, Corbyn failed to commit. Perhaps that’s for the best given that any such report is unlikely to make inspiring reading. Forget comparing the salary difference between women and men in the top jobs, when

How to close the gender pay gap

Nearly half a century after Ford Dagenham women sewing machinists struck for equal pay, a new survey shows women are still being penalised in the workplace – for having children. Equal pay for equal work is enshrined in law thanks to the bravery of those strikers, yet a cavernous gender pay gap remains. But now it is the demands of childcare — rather than sexist bosses — that is the enemy of equality. A TUC report has shown that fathers earn 21 percent more than other men. Mothers over the age of 33 typically earn 15 per cent less than women without children. Men usually work longer and harder when

International Women’s Day isn’t the time to be pushing faulty pay gap statistics

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the vast achievements of women worldwide, while acknowledging the real struggles and oppression millions of women and girls continue to face, including violence, inequality under the law and limited access to education. It is not a time to push faulty pay gap statistics. Yet that is exactly what happened yesterday. Ahead of International Women’s Day, Robert Half – a specialised recruitment agency – calculated that women in the UK will earn roughly £300,000 less than their male counterparts throughout their career, putting their estimated pay gap figure between men and women at 24%. Robert Half’s estimation is wildly inflated compared to the

Letters | 29 October 2015

We should all be feminists Sir: Articles proclaiming the death of feminism are appearing like clockwork in the press at the moment (‘Bad winners’, 24 October). Each time, it prompts feminists to respond passionately, demonstrating that far from being over, feminism is experiencing a resurgence. Witness the crowds that gathered at the Feminism in London conference at the weekend, or the stats which refuse to budge: the 19 per cent gender pay gap, the 54,000 pregnant women who are discriminated against at work each year, and the two women per week who die at the hands of a partner or former partner. But there is a more serious underlying issue. We

Why the gender pay gap is a myth

Today the Prime Minister has set out to ‘end the gender pay gap in a generation’. It would be an ambitious goal, if a wage gap actually existed. According to the latest ONS figures, women between the ages of 22 – 29 earn 1.1 per cent more on average than their male counterparts and women between the ages of 30-39 are also earning more. And it doesn’t stop there. There’s evidence that when men and women follow the same career path in the UK, women tend to out-earn and out-perform men. There is growing evidence that if you control for similar backgrounds, women actually tend to get more aggressively promoted than

Exclusive: Government to introduce gender pay gap legislation after Coalition row

This story was first published in tonight’s Evening Blend email, a free round-up and analysis of the day’s political events. Sign up here. Over the past few weeks, Coalition ministers have been fighting over plans favoured by the Lib Dems to force companies with more than 250 workers to publish details of their gender pay gap. Now Coffee House understands that the government will activate this legislation on Monday. The row came to an end when the Conservatives realised that they would not be able to stop the plans getting through the House of Lords, and so they caved in. Whether this will make a great difference to the gender