The UK’s Scarlet Letter of Wage Discrimination

Workplace Employment Inequity is a Worldwide Problem.

All things strive to achieve balance; including, wages, and supply and demand. These are terms we use all the time in HR and in the business world.

HR planning is all about sustaining equilibrium with your employees – you want the right number, at the right price, with the right skills. HR strives for balance and to treat all individuals fairly and equally.  Unfortunately, research from all over the developed world, is showing that we treat half our employees unfairly!

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Women in Canada make 73% on the dollar, when compare to their male counter parts.  This statistic does not following the basic HR principles of consistency or fairness.

The United Kingdom (UK) is trying to address income inequality between genders in the workplace through legislation.  All companies, with over 250 employees, will have to publish their gender pay gaps.  Public shaming, the proverbial scarlet letter to announce and embarrass the wrongdoer, is hoped to be a effective strategy to achieve balance.  The UK’s Prime Minster, David Cameron, stated:

“[It] will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.”

This may or may not be work as planned, in fact, it could backfire and start driving male wages down! Oh well, as least we will have equality…

Wage inequality between the genders is a complex problem that touches on our economy, our cultural, and our sociological mores and norms.  It is too bad that HR and organizations cannot solve this problem without resulting to public shamming.

Discussion Questions:

  1. You are the new Director of HR, and have conducted a wage analysis with results demonstrating gender inequality issues. What steps would you take to correct this imbalance?
  2. Research the statistical evidence of wage inequality in your province. What have you discovered?  How does your province compare to other provinces in Canada, the US, around the world?



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