I’m a lot more worried about this gender pay gap than you are. Considerably more so – and that’s even if you’re one of the women complaining about it. For we’re in the middle of a collective delusion, people simply not willing to even try and understand what is going on:
Women who work for HSBC in the UK are paid 60pc less on average than men, the banking giant has disclosed.
The gender pay gap is one of the largest yet reported in Britain and will pile more pressure on firms to address pay disparities and to hire more women into senior roles.
HSBC said the size of its gap reflected the fact there were fewer women in leadership roles at the bank. Women make up more than half of HSBC’s UK workforce – 54pc – yet less than a quarter of its senior roles, at 23pc.
The bank’s report on its gender pay gap also shows an 86pc gap between average bonuses paid to women and men. The mean gender pay gap between women and men was 59pc last year, rising to 60pc as of February this year.
Note what is not being said there. That men and women are being paid different amounts to do the same job. This is more generally true of the companies which are reporting, as they legally must, those gaps. An airline has more male pilots than female, more female stewards than male, pilots are paid what pilots get, stewards what stewards. That produces, in raw figures of average male and female pay, a pay gap – but it’s not one of corporate discrimination. It’s that men and women are, for one or another reason, sorting into different jobs.
Add in those career breaks leading to fewer women in senior positions where the pay is higher and that’s what’s causing it all.
And then to what worries. I’ve had conversations with two comment page editors this week about pieces on the subject. Sure, I didn’t get hired and there’s nothing new in that. But one of them said that while he got the point and was interested that wasn’t how the general feeling within the organisation was. The institutional view was that this was a scandal, outrageous, and something must be done. The other paper was even more worrying – a flat insistence that this was different pay for the same job driving the result.
And both of those are a problem, no?