The Fawcett Society today issued a challenge to the new prime minister to be the first to ensure that women and men in the UK are equally rewarded for their work.
Although equal pay legislation has been in force for more than 30 years, there’s still a pay gap women working full-time still earn on average 17% less per hour than men working full-time, and women working part-time earn 38% less.
Dr Katherine Rake said: “Women tennis players are finally enjoying equal pay at Wimbledon – it’s time for Gordon Brown to give all women a sporting chance and finally end the pay gap. The ball’s in his court.”
Practical steps to end the pay gapAs the leading campaign for equality between women and men, Fawcett has set out the practical measures that Government could take to end the pay gap. These include:
- Safeguards: Compulsory pay audits for all organisations
- Bold ambitions: The Government to set dates for finally closing the pay gap
- Tackle long hours: Full sign-up to the EU’s Working Time Directive and other steps to tackle our long hours working culture, which limits the ability of women with caring responsibilities to compete on an equal basis with men.
- Include men: Government and employers to encourage men – not just women – to engage with work-life balance issues.
- New rights: a right to work flexibly for all employees, unless there is a strong business case against it
Training and development experts have championed the importance of talent management after a new report found more than half of UK businesses are failing to develop their top people.
Research by recruitment outsourcing provider Capital Consulting and Cranfield School of Management, found that only 49% of UK businesses had implemented talent development programmes.
Having questioned 608 HR directors, the research pointed to a lack of financial investment and insufficient senior management support as the main obstacles to talent development.
It found that while six in 10 respondents said talent management was essential to increasing profit, only four in 10 strategically managed their star talent. One in five did not link the strategy to their business plan, while only 15% measured the return on investment.
Victoria Winkler, training, learning and development adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told Personnel Today she was not surprised by the findings. However, she believed that skills awareness was growing, and was not only on the agenda of HR departments, but also chief executives and finance directors.
“HR teams need to put a talent management structure in place to get the most out of their employees,” she said. “It can have a major impact on the bottom line and retaining staff.”
Jeremy Tipper, group managing director of Capital Consulting, said: “Creating an effective talent management framework has the potential to make HR directors organisational heroes because of the ever-growing impact it will have on business performance.”
Dr Emma Parry, research fellow at Cranfield School of Management, said the report should serve as a wake-up call to employers. “The disconnect between what senior managers are saying and what they are doing is very worrying,” she said.
The commissioner for Public Appointments has highlighted the contrast in leadership and communication styles between men and women.
Speaking at the annual dinner of City Women’s Network Janet Gaymer said: “Men often prosper in hierarchical organisations, women in smaller groups.” Launched in 1978, City Women’s Network is a member group for senior business and professional women.
Gaymer called on women’s networks to put talent retention, the gender pay gap and a new contract at work at the top of their agendas. “Women have seen so many improvements. But there is plenty more to do. It is time to take networking to a new level,” she concluded.