Equality Commission calls for reduction of pay gaps in Scotland

By agency reporter
August 16, 2017

All jobs should be advertised as available for flexible working, and greater effort placed on ending bias in recruitment, promotion and reward in a shake-up of culture and working practices to reduce pay gaps, the Equality and Human Rights Commission in Scotland said yesterday.( 15 August 2017)

The call comes as the Commission releases a comprehensive strategy for tackling gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps is released.

Fair opportunities for all: a strategy to reduce pay gaps in Britain makes six recommendations outlining the action needed by government, in society and in our businesses to improve equality in earnings for women, ethnic minorities and disabled people.

Dr Lesley Sawers, Scotland Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The pay gaps issue sits right at the heart of our society and is a symbol of what needs to be done to achieve equality for all. Subject choices and stereotypes in education can send children on set paths which often reflect the limited expectations of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people.

"These stereotypes are then reinforced in recruitment, pay and progression practices leading to a 'that’s just the way it is' attitude. It isn’t – all it reflects is how we value people and peoples work. "For this to change, we need to overhaul our culture and make flexible working the norm; looking beyond women as the primary carers and having tough conversations about the bias that is rife in our society.”

Pay gaps today remain stark:

  • women are paid on average 15 per cent less than men in Scotland
  • ethnic minorities are paid 5.7 per cent less than white people
  • disabled people are paid 13.6 per cent less than non-disabled people

The strategy is supported by the most detailed and comprehensive analysis to date of pay gap data and the drivers behind them. It highlights the complex causes of pay gaps, often missed out of debates that focus only on the headline figures.

The research reports some startling figures and surprising differences within groups, including:

  • Half of Bangladeshi and Pakistani men earn less than the living wage compared to less than a fifth of white men
  • Men who experience depression have a 30 per cent pay gap compared to their non-disabled peers, and men with epilepsy have a 40 per cent pay gap
  • The gender pay gap in Greater Glasgow is 18p an hour less than in the rest of Scotland

Dr Sawers continued: "The Scottish Parliament's recent enquiry into equal pay in Scotland, 'No small change', echoes many of the findings we have released today and we share the Committee's concerns about the low value placed on our care staff. We also fully endorse the Committee's recommendation that public bodies use procurement to reqire bidders to submit their pay gap as part of the bidding process in the same way the Government has used it to require them to pay the living wage"

"We have been talking about equal pay for years but the pace of change is glacial. Pay practices need to catch up with modern Scottish life – women, ethnic minorities and disabled people simply shouldn’t have to accept second class pay. What message does this send to young Scots – that no matter how hard you try, your gender, race, or disability defines your worth?"

"With pay gap reporting becoming mandatory for large employers next year, many companies know they can manipulate their figures

* Read Fair opportunities for all: a strategy to reduce pay gaps in Britain here

* Equality and Human Rights Commission https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en

[Ekk/4]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.