Gender imbalance is a topic that doesn’t seem to lose its relevance any time soon. Just recently I wrote about gender imbalance and related prospects of the AI economy, yet, today there is another reason to take on the discussion.
Following the British government’s regulation of reporting information on the gender-pay gap, employers are gradually filing the required disclosures and the picture isn’t looking too good – to say the least. Although many organizations are still due to file their data, the current analytics suggests an average pay disadvantage of 18% for female compared to male employees. BBC news reports examples such as Easyjet’s gap of 52%, Virgin Money’s 32.5% gap and Landbrokes’ 15% gap, all of which make BBC’s own discrepancy in male vs. female salaries of 9% seem relatively low.
Despite the differences in numbers, the statistics clearly show the current ‘state of art’, namely the fact that a majority of companies (74%) are still paying higher wage rates to men than to women. Given the momentum that gender pay-gap has gathered in the news lately, there are also several accounts of explanations and justifications of the data. Foremost, it should be noted that, indeed, the pay-gap data shows the averages of male and female wages irrespective of their position, hence, the data doesn’t indicate an inequality of wages between men and women for the same jobs. As in the Easyjet example, the revealed gender-pay gap becomes more understandable given that only 6% of women are in higher paying pilot jobs, while 69% of women take up the lower-paid cabin crew positions. Different jobs held by men and women, hence different wages. Yet again, this acknowledgement traces us back to the issue of gender imbalance in itself. Why is there such a big gap in the level of positions that men and women hold? Why are women weakly represented at higher-paying jobs?
Naturally, these questions do not have a single answer or a cause that is easy to fix. Moreover, the numbers are indeed nothing new and unexpected… they just make the picture clearer. Gender imbalance is not merely a theoretical concept that has to be on the business agenda, we can objectively see and measure it.