There have been reports this morning in the press relating to a study of pay disparity between women and men again, with the headline catcher that it will be “98 years” until pay parity is achieved. “call in government regulation” they say.
One word. Nonsense.
I’ve been recruiting men and women for over 17 years. Including contractors, I would estimate that offices that I have run or been directly involved in, have placed over 4000 individuals in work of some nature – from food packers, to PAs, to Marketing professionals and Finance Directors. On EVERY occasion, bar I am certain, none, there has been no example of pay discrimination in the selection process or the hiring decision. Yes, some people get more than their colleagues for similar roles in some circumstances – but this happens to both men and women, and is often based on job ability and experience.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I said it. Busines owners and line managers are smarter than the media think. They actually know how to differentiate talent by expertise and capability. There is no secret plan to under pay the women, and give men more. It’s down to experience and capability. If 3 people go for a job, 2 men who each demand £40k, and £45k respectively, and a women who wants £50k – if she is the best person for the job, and brings the necessary attributes to the table and more, then she gets her job and her £50k. Simple.
“But look at the stats”‘ folk will say.
Well stats don’t take into consideration that many women take career breaks. Pesky little characters called children get into the system and start allowing parents to have the opportunity to have career breaks. Either parent that is, but generally it is the lady who chooses (yes seriously, they do!) to take this time to nurture their children.
Career breaks inevitably mean a stalling in a career plan, whatever the gender. I think we have to remember that women are smart enough to make their own decisions, and I know many professional women who choose to take an elongated period of time off from full time employment to care for children. It’s not a social issue, it’s a maternal thing (I am told).
Undoubtedly, there are stuffy old organisations who may operate a boys club mentality with regards to women in career progression. Well simply, women stuck in that situation in such organisations should just simply get out. If you believe you have the talent to reach a higher grade, then leave the old boys behind and go elsewhere to get that job you believe you are worth.
However the majority of organisations in this country recruit and promote on a fair basis, down to career capability, to performance, to skills, to attitude, and to willingness to adapt to change circumstances – all key basic attributes. Businesses don’t need regulators breathing down their neck saying they ‘must pay this, and that, to who’ – they want the ability and freedom to make sound choices for their individual business circumstances.
Let’s not get caught in the media circus surrounding the white elephant of equality of pay and opportunity. It’s down to individual choices and individual capabilities, and the opportunities presented.
I welcome comments as to whether you agree with this, or are there genuinely this many examples of disparity out there?