Caroline, our Director of Communications, explains why there is still work to do, to build a fairer working future for young women this Equal Pay Day.
In September this year I was invited to speak at a Business in the Community event on pay transparency. I was fortunate to be able to do this alongside one of our young women ambassadors. It is crucial in everything that we do at Young Women’s Trust that the voices of young women are heard publicly and directly, not just through those of us that are employed by the organisation.
One of the key messages we shared was that 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act, bosses are still not doing right by women. Employers are still asking job applicants to show their salary history on application forms or asking in interviews what their current salary is. We know this makes for an unequal playing field for young women.
The effect of the pandemic on young women in work
As we mark Equal Pay Day 2021, we need to bear in mind the events of the pandemic and the impact this has had on the salaries of young women working outside the home.
A young woman near the start of her career may have experienced furlough or redundancy due to the pandemic. She may have had to flee domestic violence and leave a local job to head to a new location with her children. She may have had to take a lower paid job just to ensure that she can feed herself and those depending on her. To then ask this young woman to reveal her salary history to a potential employer could mean that she is not able to return to the salary that matches her experience and skills.
The Young Women’s Trust HR Survey of 2021 found that
- 1 in 5 female HR managers agreed that women in their organisations are paid less than men
- Almost a quarter (24%) of female HR bosses disagreed that their organisation understands how to reduce the gender pay gap
- 38% of female HR managers disagreed that their organisation had taken proactive measures to reduce their gender pay gap over the last year
Time to end salary history
So there is work to do. This is why Young Women’s Trust has signed the Fawcett Society’s Equal Pay Day pledge to employers to #EndSalaryHistory. The small steps that employers can take by committing to the actions in the pledge will make a huge difference to the experiences of young women in the workplace. More than fifty years on from the Equal Pay Act, it is time to start getting this right.
At Young Women’s Trust we are committed to building equal workplaces.
You can help us campaign with and for young women to build a fairer working future.
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