The IT industry and the gender pay gap
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The IT industry and the gender pay gap

The IT industry and the gender pay gap

Posted on 9th April 2018

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The deadline for all large companies to declare their “gender pay gap” has now been and gone. Since then the issue has been extensively reported across the specialist trade press and the national newspapers, with articles by the Prime Minister and others making the case for changes to the way both the public and private sector pay women.

It’s important to state this is not a measure of women being paid less than men for doing the same job.  Rather, for any company or organisation with over 250 staff, it’s the difference between the average salaries for men and women respectively. Obviously, where a company or industry has a more men than women in positions that offer high salaries and many women in positions that offer lower salaries, the gap will be large. And of course, if you look at some specific instances, the gaps are huge.  Football clubs in England, especially Premier League ones, have an enormous imbalance, given that their players are all men and that women are few and far between and largely in admin or perhaps marketing jobs. For example, at Stoke City, women earn only 8p for every £1 that a man earns. In a small number of instances the gap is actually in women’s favour, but in the vast majority, and in some industries in particular (finance and construction are two that stand out), men do better than women.

It’s quite hard to find figures for the IT industry as a whole. An earlier reportby the consultants Mercer, which looked at 153 IT companies in the UK with an average workforce of just over 431 staff, suggested that the gender pay gap is 25%.  In The Sunday Times, a report broke down the stats by sector but lumped technology in with media, suggesting that there is a media pay gap of 18% and a average bonus gap of 36%. This combination of media and tech probably comes from the government’s own website, where the categorythat comes nearest to IT is “information and communication,” although strangely under the other category most likely to include IT, namely “Professional scientific and technical activities” there are a number of firms (including ad agencies) which you would have thought would be under “information and communication.” Some companies are listed under several categories, so, for example, you can see a catering firm under both “Professional scientific and technical activities” and “Accommodation and food service activities.” In other words, it is all quite confusing.

What is not confusing though is that a pay gap between the sexes does exist and, in truth, we didn’t really need a set of statistics to tell us this.  The median gender pay gap for the UK as a whole, based on the companies that have reported by the deadline of 6thApril, is c. 10% (rounded), so IT is clearly on the wrong side of that line.  Even though, as the Guardian notes, “the figures are imperfect,” their publication over the last few days has started an important national debate.  In my opinion, the issue is not equal pay as such: that battle has been largely (but not entirely) won. Rather, this is about equality of opportunity. Women wanting to climb the career ladder should not be discriminated against because they have had career breaks to raise families (neither should men come to that) and the male dominated senior management teams that abound across every sector of the UK economy need to see every individual not in terms of their sex but in terms of their ability and potential. |This is simple in theory, but actually very difficult in practice given that we dealing with human foibles. However, by forcing the issue and making it a legal requirement for large companies to report these figures, the government is doing all of us – men and women – a favour, and one that we need to build on.

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT

Posted in Opinion, Recruitment News


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