back to article UK tech has a month left to bare gender pay gaps, but less than a fifth of firms have ponied up

A month ahead of the deadline for reporting gender pay gap figures, just 16 of 100 major IT suppliers, contractors, telcos and other tech businesses in the UK have submitted their data. As it stands, the average pay gap – calculated from a comparison of each company's median hourly difference in pay – is 19.34 per cent. The …

  1. ratfox Silver badge
    Meh

    This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

    I understand that it is harder for women than men to get high paying jobs, but I think it should be treated as a separate issue from getting paid differently for the same job. This statistic is confusing because it conflates the two, and half the people read "pay gap" and think it means different salaries for the same job.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

      "This statistic is confusing"

      Not to MPs and newspapers.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        I just checked the Guardian, I was surprised that I didn't see an article about this.

        I did however see "Why I backed a gender-fluid writer for a women’s fiction prize" which is pure Guardian.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

          Nothing wrong with the Guardian, once it snows I'll be building a vegan disabled gender fluid bame snowperson out of coal.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

            Nothing wrong with the Guardian

            I'll just leave this here...

            https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/27/guardian_use_me_as_a_mouthpiece/

            And lets not mention the Scott trust and the outright tax hypocrisy of this rag.

        2. Robin

          Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

          There were a couple of Guardian articles about it on Friday.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        "By Rebecca Hill"

        nuff said.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

      It's been illegal to pay men and women differently for doing the same job for almost a decade in the UK, and it (to a very good approximation) doesn't happen. What does happen is that men and women tend to make different career choices, particularly when it comes to work/life balance issues. And though these attitudes are changing, those occupying more senior positions tend to be older and hence come from different generations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        "What does happen is that men and women tend to make different career choices, particularly when it comes to work/life balance issues"

        I'm the only male engineer I know who works part time to fit around the school run 3 days a week. It would be really nice if I was paid as much as my wife who works less hours than me in a week....

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

          "It would be really nice if I was paid as much as my wife who works less hours than me in a week."

          But is she an engineer or someone who deals with serious stuff like HR or accounts?

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        Almost a decade? Is it 1985 already?

      3. Wilseus

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        "It's been illegal to pay men and women differently for doing the same job for almost a decade in the UK

        It's actually been illegal for nearly 50 years.

        But you are spot on with the rest of what you say.

    3. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

      Easy solution - pay any man who switched gender an extra 10%. I'm sure there'll be plenty of takers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        It's not gay to take.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

      Does it ignore the board, executive officers, etc. of those who rake in the most cash? Since those groups are the highest paid, it would skew the numbers somewhat.

      1. really_adf

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        Does it ignore the board, executive officers, etc. of those who rake in the most cash?

        There's nothing I can see to suggest it does.

        Since those groups are the highest paid, it would skew the numbers somewhat.

        Because executives are so few in number, even if they are all the same gender, using median instead of mean means executive pay does not affect the result (if you assume it does not affect other people's pay).

      2. Caver_Dave

        Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

        I all the high-tech companies that I have worked in the Execs and Engineers tended to be men and the admin staff and cleaners tended to be women. Of course the median is going to be very different between the sexes if the jobs are very different.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

          "I all the high-tech companies that I have worked in the Execs and Engineers tended to be men and the admin staff and cleaners tended to be women"

          That's reflected pretty much everywhere, even the Nordic countries. Surprise surprise - getting to the top requires hard work, while cleaning and admin jobs have shorter and more flexible hours.

    5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Boffin

      Outlaw asking salary history

      The best way to eliminate a pay gap due to gender or racial disparity is to outlaw asking candidates for their salary history, which some States in the US have done. An employer knows what a given position is worth to them as well as the market rate, and if they have vetted a candidate and want to hire them, they should offer what that position is worth to them. It's irrelevant what the candidates previous salary is or was. By making offers "salary history blind", you don't perpetuate previous salary discrimination.

    6. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: This is the "pay gap" that ignores the job title right?

      I think it should be treated as a separate issue from getting paid differently for the same job

      Qualifications, working experience, and ability should be used to determine pay, not job title. Two people can have the same role, but no two people will be doing the same job of it.

      Salaries for the same job should diverge. How could they not?

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Like for like figures please

    The all-employee median pay gap has little meaning since it takes no account of different life choices made by different people: job harder/easier, travel lots/stay-at-home, education degree/A-level, number of years experience, ...

    Compare like for like and the pay gap almost disappears. However politicians do not like meaningful numbers since they tend to destroy their emotion based words.

    The government comparison web site does not permit such meaningful comparison.

    1. pavel.petrman

      Re: Like for like figures please

      Alain Willians: Exactly what you say. I'd like to point those Reg readers with some time to spare to videos with Dr. Jordan Peterson, who explains the background of the pay gap, which doesn't seem to interest anyone who fights to close it. Basically what Peterson says is that women on average are more reasonable and balanced than men (I like to interpret it as women not wanting to compare membership length all the time), which is why they don't see the sum on their paycheck as the thing that defines their life.

      In the country where I work the personal income tax is veeery progressive. Which means once you reach a certain level, you either have to negotiate an impossibly large raise, or the raise you get goes to the taxman (paying there and similar programs) and not to you. So instead of one year's raise I asked for an introductory course for steel welding. Which, for some health and safety reasons got me entered in the company system as a welder instead of a dev, but I kept everything else, including my pay (I actually spent two hours thrice a week in the welding workshop, which time I didn't clock in - it was enough that the company paid all the necessary gear and instructors). So there I was, a welder who apparently negotiated a dev's pay, just to spice the stats a bit. Only to return two months later to being a dev who's paid very modestly, because there are more interesting and important things in my life than to pay more taxes. Perhaps I'm a woman in that aspect, and if I am, I don't mind at all.

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Like for like figures please

        Does Jordan Peterson work with a lot of women? I don't think women are more reasonable and balanced than men (I'm one myself) although I know they handle dealing with people a different way. It's the 'negotiate' part of getting more money that is made hard for women, by our upbringing (and this affects men too) about not being too pushy or greedy. There's also a lot of us, women and men, who foolishly trust that our bosses are fair. I had a male colleague who found he was £10k under the boss's favourite. He walked. I was £1k under him, asked for a rise, didn't get it, and found another job. Until we had proof that we were both being shafted, we were quite happy.

        1. pavel.petrman

          Re: Like for like figures please

          The important word was on average. The article is concerned with averages as well, not with individual cases (as someone else notes in this forum individuals of different sexes being paid differently for the same job has already been illegal for a decade). My second paragraph states basically the same as you do - I'm an outlier. Because everyone is an outlier, there is no average person, only averages of number of people. And to answer your question: Peterson says he sees a lot of both men and women in his clinical practice (he is a psychologist).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like for like figures please

          @Hollerithevo

          Re: "Until we had proof that we were both being shafted, we were quite happy."

          Despite appearances, the HR department is not your friend. Their mission, when push comes to shove, is to back the company position. Especially if "fair and equal" isn't part of the company culture.

          Frequently, the role of the HR department is to divide and conquer.

      2. StevieDee
        Happy

        Re: Beer in the Sodastream?

        There's a video, by a woman, that explains the entire issue perfectly imho, in a lot less time (16 seconds).

        https://youtu.be/wjWBXbGVyQU

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like for like figures please

      And it is a real problem for companies who want to address a gender imbalance in their overall workforce numbers as increasing the number of women being hired at the bottom of the ladder probably has the positive effect of improving the long term prospects for women but short term loads their payroll with women on the lower salary grades and has an immediate negative impact on the gender pay gap given the way that it is calculated.

    3. ExampleOne

      Re: Like for like figures please

      There is an even bigger problem, AIUI, in that the figures don't account for out-sourced workers.

      Say I run a managed office space (I don't, but it's a good example): I could hire in an out-sourced cleaning company, in which case the cleaners (predominantly female, IME) would get paid minimum wage or slightly above it, or I could hire a small in house cleaning team, treat them well, and pay them better. Which is going to give me the smaller gender paygap? Which is actually treating the cleaners with more respect and dignity and paying them better?

      1. Cederic

        Re: Like for like figures please

        In my experience outsourced cleaning companies tend to employ broadly comparable numbers of men and women.

        Shitty jobs for people that can't access better ones are needed by men too.

    4. really_adf

      Re: Like for like figures please

      The all-employee median pay gap has little meaning...

      Oh, I think it has meaning, just not necessarily the meaning people will ascribe to it.

  3. Korev Silver badge
    Joke

    The widest disparity is at software and business services provider Agilisys Limited, where its median difference in hourly rate was 39.1 per cent.

    If you get a female consultant from Agilisys do you get a 39% discount? Or why would anyone want to have a man from there?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Alan Johnson

      Agilisys

      It is almost certainly the case that a female consultant is paid the same as a male consultant. Anything else is illegal and economically crazy as Agilisys would simply hire more women to save money. What will be the case is that the number of men and women in different roles and seniority levels will be different. The reason is that men and women have different interest and different focusses, women on average prefer people over things, work fewer hours, take significant career breaks and ar eless willing to take on dangerous and stressful roles.

      The pay gap in agilisys simply reflects more women in lower paying and/or part time roles. The focus on it is likely to increase occupational segregation and reduce womens pay. Imagine you are running a business in which the higher paid roles are predominantly male because the pool of available employees is male for example airline pilots, engineers, developers and the lower paid administrative staff are mainly female or evenly split. The only way to reduce the wage gap is to remove the lower paid female workers from the calculation. This is simply achieved by restructuring/outsourcing so that the lower paid employees are not in the same analysis has the higher paid employees. Problem solved but the real effect will probably be worse conditions and prospects for the lower paid.

      There is a problem whenever a misleading measurement is used and in this case median income differences are used as a proxy for discrimination when there is no relationship between the two.

      It is noticeable that there is overt sex discrimination in advertising for jobs but it is only in one direction to advantage men over women. I have never seen the reverse.

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Agilisys

        Although it is illegal and economically crazy, that is what this ideology leads companies to do. A certain mindset would rather harm themselves than admit something is true, or something is false.

  4. fnusnu

    It's not a gender pay gap

    It's a primary childcare giver's pay gap.

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

      Re: It's not a gender pay gap

      Pretty much this. Rather more serious IMHO as it indicates how much society values children and parenting.

      1. Alan Johnson

        Re: It's not a gender pay gap

        "It is not a gender pay gap" - Pretty much this. Rather more serious IMHO as it indicates how much society values children and parenting.

        Nonsense it is simpy economic reality. Imagine that I gave up work for three years to help raise money for cancer research and then returned to work but worked fewer hours in order to work unpaid in a hospice.

        Shoudl I be paid the same as someone who gained experience by working wothout a break and works longer hours than me?

        Parenthood is admirable but we can't expect companies to pay the same to less experienced people who work fewer hours. That would discriminate against better qualified harder working men and women.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not a gender pay gap

          <quote>Parenthood is admirable but we can't expect companies to pay the same to less experienced people who work fewer hours. That would discriminate against better qualified harder working men and women.</quote>

          I agree with this, and I am one of those parents who took a career break to look after their children. I took four and a half years away from programming to raise my kids, and when I returned, I took a pay cut (from the actual number I was previously paid a year, never mind accounting for inflation!) to get back in to the workplace. I accepted that this was likely before I had even started looking for roles, and so it was. You take 4 and a half years off from something, you are naturally a bit rusty, and don't make the advances other people do over that time, so it only made sense to me.

          What I wasn't necessarily ready for was the number of bosses and frankly female HR representatives who couldn't grasp the concept of a man taking that kind of time away from work to look after their kids. Gender imbalance goes both ways, and reducing it to pay in this manner is frankly insulting to both sides of the argument.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: It's not a gender pay gap

      It's not even a primary childcare giver's pay gap. It's a not-doing-paid-work pay gap.

      If you do 20 hours work a week, doing exactly the same work as your colleague doing 40 hours work a week, you will shock horror get paid less. If you want to get PAID the same, you need to DO the same.

      1. Black Betty

        Re: It's not a gender pay gap

        Which would explain things if the comparison was between total remunerations. However, what is being compared is hourly rates.

  5. S_W

    When are we going to shrink the gender hours worked gap and the gender workplace fatality gap?

  6. RobertLongshaft

    Are we not tired of this radical left wing feminist nonsense yet?

    You can draw a line on almost any differentiating factor and say there is prejudice. Take height, tall people get paid more than short people. Is that because of the institutionalised oppressive tall people club? No, there are many complex factors at play.

    Southerners get paid more than northerners, is this because of some institutionalised oppressive southern people's club? No, there are many complex factors at play.

    Same for the fake gender pay gap - if it were as simple as paying women less money for the same work why wouldn't "greedy" companies the world over be filling their ranks with cheaper women employees?

    Because its complete and total nonsense created by the radical feminist movement to give easily manipulated women an excuse for not achieving. Funny isn't it how women who have achieved success rarely moan about oppression?

    1. Robin

      > Are we not tired of this radical left wing feminist nonsense yet?

      Yep.

      1. SimonC

        Yep - but the quicker we get this info out in the open, the quicker people might start to believe it.

        I at least gain some satisfaction of how there are lots of people waiting to go 'aha! oppression!' when the information is released, who are going to be terribly disappointed that they've just shot themselves in the foot.

        Then again they'll just find something else to blame, it's always someone else's fault, DEFINITELY not yours for not actually studying one of the underrpresented subjects and trying to climb the career ladder it, no no. Study gender studies instead and complain about it.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Love the handle, BTW Mr Longshaft

      The easiest way to deal with the fact that women are paid less than men, either outright or by manipulation of job titles etc, is to say that it is false and the invention of feminists and women's fault anyway for being less bright, more easily duped, in short, for being women. There: sorted!

      1. Jamtea

        Re: Love the handle, BTW Mr Longshaft

        Unfortunately the average El Reg reader seems to have a few more braincells between their ears than the easily duped Guardian readership. I think you'll possibly find that most commenters formed their own opinions on this matter quite a while ago without having to be guilted or manipulated into it.

        There's something about the tech industry that really wakes people up to the fact that it's how good you are at your job and what you can do, rather than who you are and what you pretend that you can do.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Love the handle, BTW Mr Longshaft

          "There's something about the tech industry that really wakes people up to the fact that it's how good you are at your job and what you can do, rather than who you are and what you pretend that you can do."

          It doesn't wake the bean-counters up to that.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Misogynist much?

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Holmes

        RE: ecofeco

        "Misogynist much?"

        Take a look at the healthcare industry where this is usually bought up - Women earn far less than men. Why? The men tend to be surgeons, doctors and clinical consultants. The women tend to be cleaners, nurses, receptionists. Feminists and their idiotic allies without brains (like you in this instance) will conceal this and claim women are discriminated against because they're earning less. To everyone else - they're doing lower skilled jobs, with more generous working hours, and probably have gaps in their CVs of years.

        University is exacerbating this (non) issue since women are more likely to go to university now, but they're largely doing gender studies and sociology courses, while the men are doing courses to further themselves and their careers.

  7. codejunky Silver badge

    No

    "hang thy head in shame"

    Nope. They should hold their heads up high. First we all know the data is worthless and incorrect but more-so you say they should hang their heads in shame because the deadline is still a month away? Not only must they provide this propaganda nonsense but you want them to feel bad for not publishing it a month in advance of the deadline?

    Whatever happens please dont ever go into teaching because your hope is for stuff to arrive on time, yet know to expect late submissions anyway if they bother to do it at all. I cant believe someone who writes this rubbish is allowed to put it up on the reg. Seriously Rebecca submit it to the Guardian instead, dont tempt them here.

  8. BeerTokens

    Pie in yer face

    link to a johnathan pie skit that deals with this

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7GWHgVZJQU

  9. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Focus, People!

    Who has time to worry about Gender Pay Gap Reports when the Zombie Apocalypse will be here sooner.

    Or some such? I just know folks have been screaming at me about some dire event coming soon.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What pay gap?

    When the law is that everyone's salary has to be published, then we will be able to assess whether men and women are paid differently.

    Until then, it's all just smoke and mirrors.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: What pay gap?

      No you won't unless you know what their job role entails and their experience/competence in that job.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: What pay gap?

      Yeah, that can't be abused or misinterpreted at all can it? It'll be the end of negotiating pay rises and paying staff more for anything that makes them more valuable to employ - Such as performance, loyalty or experience.

      Person A has worked at the company for 15 years.

      Person B is new.

      Person B sues for not earning the same as Person A.

      If the company lowers the wage of Person A - they leave, if they raise the wage of Person B - it's unfair. Person B just made themselves overvalued, and the first to go when cutbacks are made.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad law

    The unintended consequence of this appalling legislation is that, say, a company wanted to improve the number of women in the workforce by taking on mainly female apprentices. This would have a negative effect on the published "gap" figures, since employing more men in the low paid positions would show a much lower gap, and therefore a false conclusion, as the average male wage would be reduced.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine this law did not exist

    How many companies would be falling over themselves to make evidence available that they pay men and women equally for the same job role.

    I won't be holding my breath.

    That is the real problem - they're not interested in equality, let alone proving it.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Imagine this law did not exist

      "How many companies would be falling over themselves to make evidence available that they pay men and women equally for the same job role."

      That's not what this is about. This is taking the median male and female salary and taking the percentage difference. They are not for the same role.

      The Equal Pay Act has been law for decades, and has real bite, as opposed to this gender pay gap fluff, which does not.

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This is a not-doing-paid-work pay gap. Women are more likely to not work than men. This has got worse in recent years with flexible working, as women are more likely to flexibly work less than men are. The solution? Make it illegal for women to take time off work. Simples.

  14. clyde666

    Job preferences matter

    Many years ago, I ran a retail business - selling and servicing computers.

    The employees were overwhelmingly male.

    I had a policy of at least interviewing every applicant who was female. A very high percentage of them got offered a job.

    Even at that, females were at best 10 percent of the total.

    The office was different - polar opposite.

    Make of that what you will.

  15. ecofeco Silver badge

    And they won't

    Until they are forced too.

    The UK becomes more like America every year. :(

    And my god the number of misogynist comments here is appalling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And they won't

      "And my god the number of misogynist comments here is appalling."

      I looked and didn't find any Misogynistic commments. In order to understand your definition of misogyny can you perhaps point to some examples?

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: And they won't

        Judging from the last page he/she is a feminist and unable to deal with facts. Feminists appear unable to deal with this topic neutrally and factually if Eco is any indication.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And they won't

          My observations are that 'misogynist' generally seems to have the meaning - 'I disagree with what you have said but I can't think of any good argument or evidence as to why you are wrong'.

          In terms of the dictionary definition I am not sure I have ever seen it used correctly.

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
            Megaphone

            Re: And they won't

            "I hate women" - The literal definition of misogyny

            "I don't like the special privileges women get in law that men don't." Or, "men need more legal rights to catch up to what women now have" - Common sense and decency, or Egalitarianism

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And they won't

            @AC

            re: "I disagree...."

            It's called bigotry.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sewage Disposal

    They prefer to call it waste water disposal. In my time in the industry I quickly realised that it was a sh!t job. What I didn’t notice was many women underground, or above the ground come to that, doing the crappy jobs. When women moan about not getting into the board room, let's remind them that they don't have the dirty jobs in the sewage disposal sector either.

    1. A Nonny Moose

      Re: Sewage Disposal

      There are plenty of women working as nurses, health care assistants, carers and the like that deal with shit every day

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sewage Disposal

        "I quickly realised that it was a sh!t job"

        By definition.

  17. devTrail

    divide and rule

    This story is being turned into something like minority protections and politically correct in the USA. An issue misrepresented and mishandled on purpose in order to backfire, create resentment, divide and rule.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: divide and rule

      No change there then.

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