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Battle of the sexes: Views divided between gender pay gap and career damage from having children


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Uk Consumer Sector Employee Survey 2018

Nigel Wright Group’s UK Consumer sector employment trends survey is released today, showing significant differences between male and female views.

 

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Employment prospects look good across the economy and staff are experiencing modest salary growth and greater openness from employers to enable flexible working practices. But views clash when it comes to male and female beliefs about gaps in gender pay and how having children can damage women’s careers.

Over four in five (82%) men believe there isn’t a gender pay gap where they work. Nearly half of women disagree (43%). Despite this, most employees think their employer treats men and women equally. Although gender differences were apparent here too, with 91% of men agreeing, compared to 70% of women. Stronger differences emerged over men and women believing they are being paid equally by their employer. Most males (86%) consider genders are paid equally, whereas significantly less females (63%) agree.

Whether a company’s relative difference in the average gross hourly earnings of women and men as a whole is thought to be a problem, or merely relative pay within roles, where the information isn’t forthcoming by employers, staff appear to create views of their own. Many respondents cited that they didn’t know so were left to assume the worst.

One respondent was keen to state: “There is no discrimination but there is a gender pay gap which is caused entirely by an imbalance at the top of the organisation and also by more women tending to work part-time after giving birth. Whereas men tend to continue working full time.”

Nigel Wright Group’s survey discovered strong views on this subject too. Just over half of women (53%) believed that having young children can damage their career. 39% of men think women’s careers can be damaged this way – still a high proportion in today’s supposedly equal society.

Nearly all agree that gender discrimination is not inevitable. It’s in everyone’s power to address, despite a minority of 29% of women and 17% of men believing in its inevitability.

Nigel Wright Group surveyed over 1,000 respondents working across the UK in different disciplines and levels of seniority. The company also gathered information on the average salary and benefits people receive, as well as data on job satisfaction, the reasons for leaving jobs, gender differences in pay and benefits, skills shortages and the methods used by candidates in their job search.

Paul Wilson, CEO at Nigel Wright Group, commented on the findings:

“Perceptions and assumptions around companies’ gender pay gaps and levels of inequality are being debated more freely since larger UK employers have started to publish their figures. Most SMEs do not fall under this legislation to report upon their gender pay differences. These issues are likely to stay in the public domain for years to come.

“The UK consumer sector remains robust and high rates of employment are becoming the norm. Skill shortages are increasing though, making it hard for employers to find new talent. Retention of good people is important to avoid them moving to where their skills can be better appreciated.

“Flexible and agile working methods and freedoms are becoming more prevalent and valued by all sexes, particularly women, helping employers differentiate themselves in the recruitment market. This highlights the importance of keeping your good staff satisfied and challenged in their roles.”

 

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