Monday 17 August 2009

Apples And Pears

The question of equal pay struck me again this week. Harriet Harman’s department has put out, and the BBC has propagated, the statistics showing the gender gap in wages. Women are paid less than Men, we are told, despite legislation and a shift in society over the last 40 years to even out these values.
I have talked before in these articles about statistics and averages. The problem is that apples need to be compared with apples to arrive at a fair conclusion and that does not seem to be the case here.
Are we talking about income or pay (ie salary/wage)? Are we talking about all women vs. all men or just the working population? Are we considering the entire age range, or taking a like for like sample? Are we comparing jobs where for all sorts of cultural and historical reasons and sometimes plain physical reasons, one sex appears to dominate the workforce numbers?
For example, if you consider the pay of men doing part time jobs where there are direct comparisons available to view, it appears that men are actually paid less than women by some 3.4%. If we are talking about income, it was reported this week that a Police Constable (presumably male but now I think about it the report was not specific) earned an income last year of £90k (actually with a salary of £40k) by earning overtime and actually earned more than most of his senior officers.
All this is not the fault of the statistics Office – the Government’s fact sifting department. The Head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, who carries one of those surnames peculiarly suited to his job, has taken issue with the Equalities Office for using statistics in a way that will undermine the public trust.
It is the fault of the Government Departments who promulgate these statistics to further some political point without explanation and in some cases with misleading preambles. Consider the report published by the Government’s Women and Work Commission. On page 5, top right corner, a host of statistics are quoted that are accurate figures, one supposes, but lead nowhere safely. See
I can’t help feeling we, the Public, male and female, are being manipulated.
In Business it is important to maintain an integrity when dealing with the public. It is a shame that the Governmental servants of our society do not seem to see it that way.
Bob Shepherd Associates, in business to help you do business better.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Bob, very good points.
    It's all so confusing and that's before you consider the average pay of the cross dressers!