Gender Inequality: are you guilty?

It is commonly recognised that public, private, and social sectors need to act to close gender gaps in work and society but are employers working against progress through ‘unintentional bias’?

A recent report has suggested that if women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. It claims that if women were to play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as £21.8 trillion could be added to global annual GDP by 2025. In 2019 the gender pay gap was 17.3% in the UK, which means that on average, women were paid approximately 83p for every £1 that men were paid.

Gender bias often impedes the recruitment selection process for female candidates, regardless of their track records and skillsets. If employers are unintentionally biased, they could be losing out on getting the best candidate. Employers, if they haven’t already, should adopt unbiased candidate practices.

When an employer asks ‘what’s your current or last salary,’ this may inadvertently disadvantage female candidates who have historically been paid less than male candidates. The lower pay cycle for women therefore continues.

Employers should try to ensure they are addressing the gender pay gap. If an employer hires a female candidate and that candidate finds out that she is paid substantially lower than colleagues in a similar role, with similar skills and experience, then by not addressing the pay gap, an employer could potentially face having to deal with a grievance or end up in an employment tribunal.

If business’ really want to be part of the solution to eliminate gender pay inequality, then they must also look at the true cost of gender inequality’s effect on their business and reputation. They must take a public stance, backed up with proof and testimonials, that they are ensuring that they are looking out for female candidates in the salary negotiation process. This will ensure that those employers are not guilty of gender inequality or unintentional bias.

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