HR & Management

August 2017 economic statistics: All the figures SMEs need to know

5 min read

05 September 2017

The pay gap, be it for gender, ethnic minority or disability, has been of much debate following the BBC's publication of highest earning broadcasters. Our August 2017 economic statistics unveils what bridging them could potentially mean for British business.

A report’s title recently drew our attention – “The Great Divide” – for being applicable to the numerous gaps found in British business. The skills we need and have, and the expectations of employers and young people around them, not to mention variations on pay – the latter of which comprises our roundup of August 2017 economic statistics.

That the UK is a great place for business goes without saying. We’ve seen too many successes and happy workforces to argue. It’s by no means perfect though, as was expanded on by the Taylor Review and its aim to modernise working practices.

One of its biggest points regards bettering the pay of workers – a debate which stems into various categories, we unveil among our August 2017 economic statistics.

For starters, gender inequality will likely only end in 2069, according to McKinsey & Company’s Why Diversity Matters report. Part and parcel of the problem is the gender pay gap, which many are finding harder to define. It is the fault of social norms, it revolves around female choice or is simply due to the selected industry – these have all been mentioned this month as reasons behind its existence.

It could be all of the above. But closing said gap will see a host of economic benefits, such as the creation of an additional £600m of annual GDP by 2025, our August 2017 economic statistics found.

Britain’s pay divide isn’t exclusive to gender though. August has seen rallying calls for businesses and government to focus on ethnic minorities and those with disabilities, further highlighted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

It published a report on 15 August, unveiling how the ethnicity and disability pay gap stood at 5.7 per cent and 13.6per cent respectively.

“Improving the participation and progression of ethnic minorities at work would add £24bn a year to the economy,” the company said. “Taking action to get disabled people into work will go some way towards reducing the £100bn the UK loses each year from people being out of work.

“Supporting disabled people at work will also help to reduce the amount employers spend each year on sickness absence pay and associated costs – currently £9bn”

Caroline Waters, deputy chair of the EHRC, hints that once again, pinpointing particular reasons for such gaps is complex. It spans subject choices, stereotypes assigned since childhood, not to mention ability. Either way, the fact that not one person of ethnic minority was included on the BBC’s now incredibly well-known list, says much.

Another gap, as unveiled in our August 2017 economic statistics, comes in the form of CEO pay packages. It would take a worker on a normal salary more than 150 years to earn the average yearly pay packet of FTSE100 company bosses.

Sure, as Real Business contributor Charlie Mullins exclaimed, if they’re worth the money then so be it. However, research has long suggested CEO pay is rising to new heights – and not arguably not for the right reasons. The Guardian quoted one headhunter as saying: “There are an awful lot of CEOs who are pretty mediocre.”

Another of its sources opined: “The wage drift over the past ten years, or the salary drift, has been inexcusable, incomprehensible, and it is very serious for the social fabric of the country.”

The month has certainly looked to highlight the unequal nature of British pay. And while each “branch”, if you like, is being addressed, they are moving at a snail’s pace.

Waters said it best in a Personnel Today article: “We need radical change now otherwise we’ll be having the same conversations for decades to come about this amalgamated national pay gap of sorts.”