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"in some sectors in the UK there is a 40% pay gap between men and women. How do you explain that?"

No idea. Between the two of us, it might be discrimination. Otherwise, I'd look at the job profiles and at the whole process. Just by looking at the average, I can't make an anti-discrimination law.
Wide averages show men life expectation is 10 years shorter than women's (TBG). What does that tell you? Shouldn't we send the men to retirement 10 years earlier? What's the actual situation?

Bottom line: sector or industry wide average is not enough, you've got to look into it, to the root causes. Or else, you're doing statistical experiments on the society's defenceless body. Frankenstein. Or Stalin.

"And in fairness should an individual's contract be down to how well that individual can negotiate it"

I admit it can be unfair, on the other hand we should know how to "sell" ourselves, I guess... I don't know.

"a systematic pay scale and grading and job evaluation methodology should be used.  So people who do similar jobs with the same levels of responsibility, should be paid the same for that"

Now you're speaking my language - just when I was thinking it extremely unlikely! :)
It looks like my previous proposition for a standardised CV. (unapplicable, that is :P )

"There's no question of trying to make more men be cleaners or more women be bin collectors but where it can be shown that the work is equivalent, they should be paid fairly"

I totally agree on principle (SEE!!! :) ). About this precise case: I'm wondering, maybe bin collecting is considered much more physical a job?... I'm not trying to excuse the system.

"a pay gap for certain ethnicities compared to white people"

Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries. But it's hard to make a process of intention for that. Salary is negotiated, not imposed by the state. So one is offering, the other accepting, or the other way around. Now maybe some companies systematically propose inferior salaries to non-whites. Maybe they have reasons (I'd like to hear them), or just taking advantage. The others should not accept. I know it's easy to say - just the case with women. Employment market is extremely delicate, mixing arbitrare criteria with economic ones with human ones.

In any case, it doesn't work as easily as you expressed it in the statement I originally replied to:

"With recruitment the monitoring forms gives an idea of the numbers of people from different groups who apply and who get appointed in an organisation.  So it helps to highlight whether they are getting no applications from ethnic minorities or if they get a high number of applications from women but no women are getting appointed. Therefore the organisation needs to make changes to be more inclusive or to address any causes for there being a poor diversity of applicants or appointees."

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, you probably simplified the process.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries.

I'm not talking about migrant workers - that is a separate issue.  I'm talking about British black/asian people.  In the same way that a woman doing the same job as a male colleague on apparently the same pay scale and with pretty much the same job spec can prove she is being paid less, there are examples of that between black and white people.

Migrant workers typically take the low paid and low skilled jobs because it is still better money than they were getting at home.  Unfortunately language barriers and lack of awareness about rights means that they are a group that is especially vulnerable to exploitation, often not being paid the minimum wage and working long hours under terrible conditions - this is largely because they are being threatened with dismissal if they don't agree to this and they cannot afford it - especially if their accommodation is tied in with the job.

The vulnerable workers group also overwhelmingly includes women who get placed in the same situation and not knowing their rights, they put up with terrible conditions and pay because they can't afford to complain and lose their jobs.

See the Vulnerable Workers Report for more.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 04:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got very little to add to this. Coming to the aid of vulnerable groups is a truly noble and justified cause. These groups by definition include people who are weaker from one reason or another - women, immigrants, people from bad neighbourhoods. I also agree that women in particular were in large majority suffocated by what it was a mostly men's society in terms of political and economical power. The generalization of women education has had fantastic results in the evolution of their condition.

But when it comes to laws, I don't think categories or category-biased laws are the right way (be it by gender, race, origin, or other criteria). IMO the way France treats citizens uniformly concerning race and origin is a better method, which must be doubled by even stronger efforts on education and support of the vulnerable individuals.
And my dream is to see this kind of moderation, punishing proven discrimination, not inferred by statistics, and a general preoccupation for fairness to all associations active in this effort.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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