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Women and younger people are keen to work for an employer who is taking active steps to reduce the gender pay gap, with six in 10 women say “it matters to me” and 77% saying reducing it is the responsibility of business and employers, according to a survey by the Fawcett Society.
The ICM poll of 2,000 people found that the gender pay gap is a significant factor for many, with women and younger people more likely than men to be looking for an employer who is taking action to close the gender pay gap. Some 59% of women agree, 23% strongly, and 39% of men agree that “it matters to me that my employer or potential future employer is taking steps to reduce the gender pay gap in their organisation”. Some 17% of men and 5% of women disagree. Younger people were particularly interested in greater equity: 59% of those aged 18-24 agree, 25% strongly, with this statement, compared to 45% of 55-64 year olds.
Some 77% of women agree, 32% strongly, and 66% of men agree that “it is the responsibility of businesses and employers to reduce the gender pay gap”. Just 5% of people disagree. Moreover, 68% of women agree, 30% strongly, and 56% of men agree that “it is the responsibility of government to reduce the gender pay gap”. Men are twice as likely as women to disagree with this statement – 15% vs 7%.
Some 56% of women and 48% of men agree that we all as individuals have a responsibility to reduce the gender pay gap.
The poll also asked about progression of women at work. Women are more likely than men to agree that “my employer could do more to encourage the progression of women in my workplace” (30% vs 26%). Men are more likely than women to disagree (24% vs 19%). Women are more likely than men to agree that “my line manager could do more to encourage the progression of women in my workplace” (23% vs 18%). Men are more likely than women to disagree (28% vs 21%). Moreover, 16% agree, 5% strongly agree that “I could do more to encourage the progression of women in my workplace”. There was no difference between women and men who agreed with this statement. However, men were more likely than women to disagree with this statement (36% vs 28%).
The Fawcett Society is calling for concerted action on the part of employers and government to close the gap.
In a speech at a Gender Pay Gap conference today Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Society, set out the major barriers to progress including the less progressive attitudes of ‘barrier bosses’, a significant minority (16%) of recruitment decision-makers who do not believe in equality of opportunity and people who regard mothers at work as ‘less committed’ to their jobs.
Minister for Women and Equalities, Caroline Dinenage MP also addressed the conference and set out the Government’s approach.
The Fawcett Society is establishing a new Fast Forward Network for those employers who want to do more than the minimum on gender pay gap reporting. Smethers said: “The gender pay gap is a productivity gap. It represents the wasted potential of women’s talents and skills. Research shows that reducing it would see over 800,000 more women in work and add £150 Billion to our economy by 2025.
“These findings show that the majority of women are going to be looking for employers who are taking action to address it. It is less having a gap that matters and more what you are going to do about it.
“Gender pay gap reporting is an important next step and we welcome it. But unless we take action to equalise leave entitlements and enable men to do more caring, advertise all jobs on a flexible working basis unless there is a good business reason not to, and get more women into higher paid science, technology or engineering sectors we won’t close it.”
Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute, who is speaking at the conference, said: “Diversity delivers better financial results, better culture and better decision-making. But according to CMI research male managers are more likely to be promoted ahead of women, and this is holding us all back. Change for the better starts with transparency and targets. The Government’s fairer business agenda, and upcoming gender pay gap reporting regulations, will help open up the talent pipeline. We’re working with employers to emphasise that better diversity leads to better management practices- which boosts productivity, opportunity and results for all.”