Job segregation a major cause of wage inequality, say women's groups

Campaigners call for refocus on low paid jobs as pay gap report is released 

WOMEN in low-pay jobs should be the focus of the debate on gender pay equality according to groups that campaign for the equal representation and economic independence of women.

They have responded to a report showing that Scotland has the worst gender pay gap in the UK with women getting paid less than their male counterparts in management positions by just under £11,000.

In research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) it was also found that last year, men were promoted at a higher rate at about 40 per cent more than women regardless of similar experience or workload.

"The focus on management level jobs distracts from the experiences of the large numbers of women in undervalued, low-paid jobs such as care, cleaning and retail." Anna Ritchie Allan

Speaking to CommonSpace, Anna Ritchie Allan, manager of Close the Gap which campaigns for gender pay and work equality in Scotland, said: "This annual survey is useful for highlighting the entrenched inequalities that women face at work. However, the far more robust statistics published by ONS show the pay gap to have been consistently lower in Scotland than in the UK since 2010. 
 
"Across Scotland and the UK, women and men are still segregated into different types of jobs, and a lack of quality part-time and flexible work sees women under-represented in higher-paid senior roles.


 
"The focus on management level jobs distracts from the experiences of the large numbers of women in undervalued, low-paid jobs such as care, cleaning and retail, for whom employment is becoming increasingly precarious with a rise in temporary and zero hours contracts.
 
"From our experience of working with employers, organisations that have fair and genuinely flexible working practices see their businesses become more productive and more innovative, and reduce costs by attracting and retaining the best people for the job."

"Across Scotland and the UK, women and men are still segregated into different types of jobs, and a lack of quality part-time and flexible work sees women under-represented in higher-paid senior roles." Anna Ritchie Allan

According to the CMI survey out of 60,000 UK employees surveyed by the 2016 National Management Salary Survey showed the pay gap was at 29.9 per cent amounting to a £10,862 in Scotland.

In Scotland, 3,100 employees out of the total across the UK were interviewed as part of the survey where men received an average bonus of more than 64 per cent (£3,336).

Close the Gap additionally referred to The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) as its the source for calculating the pay gap which is published late autumn every year. 

ASHE calculates the pay gap using the mean and the median hourly earnings of men working full-time compared to women working full-time and women working part-time.

In 2015 the gender pay gap in Scotland was 14.8 per cent when comparing men's combined hourly earnings with women's combined hourly earnings and 33.5 per cent when women's part-time hourly earnings were considered.

When the ASHE does its analysis, it takes into account extremely high-earning staff which predominantly are men and the fact that many women tend to be clustered in to the lowest paid jobs. 

The pay gap was at 29.9 per cent amounting to a £10,862 in Scotland

As a result, Close the Gap states that it has a clearer picture about job segregation and the structural disadvantages women holistically face in the workplace. 

According to the ASHE, on average women in Scotland earn £175.30 per week less than men and make up 48 per cent of the labour market.

Additionally, 42 per cent of women employed in Scotland work part-time compared to 13 per cent of men employed in Scotland with women accounting for 75 per cent of all part-time workers in Scotland.

Regarding occupational segregation, women working in Scotland are more likely to be concentrated in certain industries, for example 48 per cent of working women work in public administration, education and health industries. 

"Media coverage needs to reflect the complexity that underlies the pay gap itself. We need a better public conversation on women and work." Emma Ritch

Around 80 per cent of administrative and secretarial workers and those in personal service jobs are women and they are more likely to work in the public sector, with 67 per cent working for local government and 81 per cent in the NHS, yet only a third of chief executive officers are women.

Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender, said: "The pay gap is a top-line indicator of women's persistent labour market inequality. It shouldn't be a twice-a-year story when robust new figures are produced by ONS/Close the Gap, or recruitment companies do their own small bits of analysis. 

"Instead, women's distinct experience should be included in reporting on the economy, on employability, on education and skills, on labour rights, and on precarity and zero hours contracts. 

"Media coverage needs to reflect the complexity that underlies the pay gap itself. We need a better public conversation on women and work." 

Pictures courtesy of Intel Free Press

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