The Ri5 Gender Pay Gap rapid-fire survey results

 

Gender pay gap. Equality of pay. Inequality in the workplace. All big topics. Huge.

We suspected when we launched this debate that it wouldn’t be cut and dry (although surprisingly, on some matters it was). Indeed, some of the questions asked were - in their intent - designed to incite our readers to do more than tick a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We wanted comments from you to bring the debate to life.

As a poll, its intention was never to produce a ‘white paper’. It was more a litmus test. And whilst it’s only ever going to give us a topline, that topline was most informative. And we have you to thank for that.

124 of you felt it important enough to fill out. Here’s what our snap-shot survey revealed.

First up, whether or not you think gender pay gap reporting has been worth it. A resounding 75% of you either felt very strongly, or strongly, that it was worth it.


Central to much of the criticism that’s been raised around this initiative, is the fact that it doesn’t allow for like for like comparisons, or distinction between full and part-time workers – perhaps that’s what the 19% of you disagreed over, or neither agreed nor disagreed.

Clearly, however, equal pay for equal work, is something you all feel strongly about (something the gender pay gap reporting is unable to pull out), with 97% of you backing the fact that men and women should be paid the same for the same job.

Now, given that disparities are well-documented to exist, we thought we’d tackle whether or not you’d relinquish any earnings to achieve equal pay (whether you were male or female). What prompted this was the very noble gesture by the Norway male football team, who each gave up £44,739 to see that parity was achieved for their female international footballing counterparts.

No judgement here, but only 26% of you would have done the same, with 60% of you voting that you wouldn’t.  There were many qualitative answers to help us understand the ‘why’ behind your thinking.

“This will never be asked of me. As a part-time working woman, I know that my basic salary and benefits are less than male colleagues in the same role.”

“Sure, but as a woman I’ve never seen that situation”

These were just a couple of the responses. However, for the vast majority of you who expressed an opinion, the onus was very much placed on the employer to bring about parity by increasing the pay to match whoever was earning more. Exemplified by a string of answers, including:

"No, as it’s not about an employee paying any money, it’s about the employer upping the pay to women."

"Would I take a drop in salary? No. Do I wish to see parity? Yes. Should the business be paying for our services take that increase? Absolutely"

"I wouldn’t want to relinquish any of my current earnings, but I would support a phased initiative to ensure, over time, equal pay was achieved for both male and female colleagues.”

Let’s move on. If gender pay gaps are prevalent (as the submitted reports suggest), what did you perceive to be the largest contributing factors? The single largest factor voted for by you, was for ‘historical reasons’. And most of you felt that this was down to “unconscious bias and conscious bias”. The other major reasons voted for, were the fact that ‘women have children’ (22%) and ‘maternity leave’ (22%).

“An unsupportive economy for a balance in paternity and maternity. The onus falls on the woman” was one comment made in support of this, a sentiment echoed by many.


Given that it’s widely acknowledged that there are more men in senior roles, we wondered if this was important to you. Hence the reason for question four around whether or not it’s important to have more women in senior roles.

79% of you came back with a firm ‘Yes’. 7% were a ‘no’ and 14% cited ‘other’. Not everyone chose to qualify their answer, but of the nine who did, seven of you felt (and we’re paraphrasing), that the top roles should be awarded on merit, regardless of gender. The two remaining respondents said, “If they can perform and be competent in the job” and “Roughly equal”. With over ¾ of you voting for greater representation of women there’s clearly a vote for change.

Taking all that into consideration, where do you feel we are in the whole equality in the workplace debate? Do you feel it exists now? Only 17% of you do. Do you think it doesn’t exist, but will in the future? Thankfully, 73% of you believe this is the case. However, there are still 10% of you that think equality will never exist. And that’s quite a strong statement. Why? Well, actually, the vast majority of you didn’t feel compelled to rationalise your answer. The one response we did have suggested that equality “exists in certain places and certain company cultures… the more enlightened.” It’s interesting that it’s seen as a progressive trait.

What, then, if equality in the workplace doesn’t exist, what would be the largest contributing factor to ensure greater equality in the workplace? The answers came back loud and clear as being ‘equal pay for equal work’ at 62%; ‘equal male / female leadership’ at 36% and 2% voted for ‘equal male / female employees.’

And how do we facilitate that change?  Top of the list with 45% is a call for ‘equal maternity / paternity rights’; second was for ‘more returnship programmes’ at 35% and ‘better childcare benefits’ came in third with 17%. In addition to the focus on child-related barriers, a few of you were keen (rightly so), to point out inequality does not single out people who have had children.

Many of you wanted to highlight that equality, or inequality, is as much about mind-set change as it is about procreation.

“Historical tendency for men to be in senior positions as opposed to women to change”

“… it is ingrained in most company cultures to look to makes first for senior roles” 

“Not favouring one gender over another because it’s what we’re used to”

 

And there we have it. Our first at-a-glance indication as to what our industry is feeling on the topics affecting us today. In short, it means yes, inequality exists. It doesn’t care whether you have children or not. And it might be a long while until true equality becomes a reality.

Thanks again for taking part. Until the next one.

 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

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The Ri5 Gender Pay Gap rapid-fire survey results