Our blog: Gender pay gap – an issue for promotion, not punishment

  08 January 2018

It is perhaps good news that the first auto retailer has been included in the gender pay gap figures. When all companies employing more than 250 people are included I wonder if it would look as if women in this sector receive a raw deal compared to male colleagues.

But, the figures can be misleading. The issue is not about paying women less for doing the same job as a man, which is in any case, illegal. The gap mainly results from having a larger male workforce in management roles with a plethora of females in low-paid admin jobs. The fact men are largely employed in sales and aftersales simply adds to the odds being stacked against women.

So, these figures are useful but should act as a reminder to all firms to think about whether they could do more to encourage women to work for them and to create opportunities rather than castigate, because things won’t change overnight.

There needs to be a sense of perspective. Some of the negative comment directed at firms with big gaps is unfair. Easyjet is one example. Its figures are skewed because it employs mainly male, well paid pilots, while the majority of cabin crew are women on low salaries. Easyjet has responded positively and is targeting more female pilots, so it’s an exciting time for any girl thinking of taking to the skies.

But, could dealerships reach out too? Can they tackle the image issue – many may be far from being dens of salacious banter, machismo and unrelenting targets – but are they even under consideration as potential employers?

Now is the time to look at culture, whether there needs to be more help with childcare and if paternity leave and work/life balance is taken seriously. If not, this increasingly makes businesses look like dinosaurs and we know where they went. Whether it is connected to these latest figures, the BBC examples which invoked such a furore or even the lingering effect of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there is a growing openness about tackling sexism and to allow women who want senior roles to be given the chance – this is not going to go away and needs to be on every right-minded franchised retailer’s business agenda.

 

Rachel Gordon

Editor

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