ONS figures show that on average women are paid 15.7 per cent less than men for doing the same jobs. The CBI said that in order to meet a national target we would need to see action in a number of areas which have a real impact on equal pay, such as improved careers guidance in schools, an increased understanding of the benefits of flexible working for parents and businesses, and affordable childcare. Katja Hall, the CBI’s deputy director-general, will be speaking at this evening’s First Women Awards, which were created by Real Business and the CBI. She said: Gender should not define what people earn and we need to put equal pay firmly into the spotlight. Currently, too many areas of work often those with high pay potential are seen as male-dominated, with women steered away from options that would give them better access to higher pay and seniority. This simply has to change. We must focus on tackling the pay gap by providing the right careers advice in schools and boosting support in the workplace for career development. The CBI’s new report, Building on Progress, highlights some of the positive changes we have seen for women in the workforce but suggests there is still much to be done. Its proposals include:
Government funding for a nationally-mandated, locally-run system to support employer engagement in careers services
Every sixth form, college and university setting and reporting against targets for female participation in key subjects, such as physics
Businesses committing to meaningful diversity policies and, where possible, aspirational targets, with a focus on supporting women within the workforce and re-integrating maternity returners effectively into their roles
Businesses showing greater openness to job-sharing in more senior roles and ensuring recruitment processes maximise the diversity of shortlists
The Government doing more to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits and options for flexible working, including better guidance for businesses
The Government considering increasing the amount of free provision of childcare when it is affordable to do so, especially for those from low income backgrounds
Any future Government making equal pay a priority, in the same manner that the Lord Davies review shone the spotlight on women on boards.
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