It has been an interesting few weeks and one of those things that has struck me is the continued discussion around Pest Control. The announcement at the start of last week that under government reforms that the UK’s biggest firms might have to show how much more their chief executives are paid compared with the average employee. Whilst the CEO is often critical in steering the direction of many companies, I feel that, in a great deal of cases, they’re not fundamental to the success of that company and the value placed on their skills is often too high. In many businesses both private and public the management pay scale far outweighs that of the people that actually create the merchandise, provide the services or carry out the administration. Whilst it’s important to have people that give direction and make often difficult decisions, there are far too many in this position. If all’the employees’ weren’t around then nothing would have to be handled as there would be no goods or services. The point I am trying to make is that there is too wide a gulf and it only appears to be getting wider. When our nurses complain since they’re limited to a 1 percent pay rise across the NHS board you may understand it. If you are a manger already earning #60,000 annually an additional #50 a month is nice, if you are a nurse earning #23,000 an extra #19 a month is not helpful.
They feel valued and know that their role is respected so they work hard and look after our customers, which reflects well on our interaction with the customers also. It’s a win, win situation. Many smaller companies run this way.
I would like to see businesses reducing the pay divide across all sectors of the marketplace. I am positive the results achieved by this action would be amazing and would set the UK on a strong path of economic growth with a more satisfied work force.
In the previous week it was revealed that Holly Willoughby had her This Morning salary increased by #200,000 to match that of her co presenter Phillip Schofield. There’s absolutely not any justification for two people who do exactly the same job being paid different amounts of money.
Whilst this is good news it only goes to underline the amount of the problem. If high profile’celebrities’ such as Holly have been paid for the same work, what chance is there for others in ordinary jobs? Yes, the problem is one of gender. Women are often viewed as unable to carry out higher level jobs. Here’s an idea Ladies, the next child you have, regardless of sex, call them John. Would you believe there are more guys called’John’ running FTSE 100 businesses than there are actual women directors!
I also feel that girls are slightly to blame. We have been so desperate to prove ourselves, as good as, if not better, than our male counterparts that we’ve allowed them to limit our salaries. Falsely believing that it’s better to find the job, with lesser pay than we think others could be compensated, because when it’s realised just how competent we are that the salary increases would follow. My own experience is that when you have accepted such a role, you have almost made a rod for your own back and it is very tricky to negotiate massive increases to equalise the pay. The time has come for us to stop undervaluing ourselves. Yes we want the jobs but on the same basis as anyone else. Girls have qualities that men do not and these need to be appreciated. Yes, we often have kids that disturb our professions, but what we learn from such an experience is worth its’weight in gold’. It does not diminish our value to the work force, it enhances it.
Although gender is an issue for pay, it’s not the only one. Being from an ethnic minority also limits your chances of being on the board. In a report carried out by Sir John Parker last year he found that just 8% of all directors are non-white. Only seven firms accounted for a third of all directors hailing from ethnic minority backgrounds, while 53 firms did not have a single non-white executive on the board. With our ever changing UK culture this can’t be good or right for these companies if there isn’t a fair representation of the workforce as a whole.
There’s not any quick, easy solution to such issues but the more that the issues are highlighted and talked about the nearer we will move to obtaining the inequalities corrected. It is everyone’s duty to question bias, in whatever form, when it rears its ugly head and there’s absolutely no excuse not to. I do not believe in positive discrimination as a means to put women or ethnic minorities on the board. However I do believe that the best person, whoever that it, should be selected and paid accordingly.