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Men & women’s pay; the impact on trust

Because perceptions of how companies recruit & treat staff (diversity, pay, promotion) influence people’s wider trust-in-business – diversity and inclusion at levels of the business are at the heart of the CBI’s Great Business Debate.

Businesses with more than 250 employees will have to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees. The Government has said it is to go ahead with the plan, originally launched under the coalition.
The story has received extensive coverage:

BBC News

Daily Telegraph



Financial Times

The Government has also announced that a target of getting women into at least a quarter of boardroom seats at the UK’s biggest firms by 2015 has been met. Lord Davies set the target in 2011 after conducting a review into the gender balance on company boards.

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“Katja Hall, CBI Deputy Director-General, said: “Lord Davies’ successful voluntary approach demonstrates the value of encouragement as opposed to using the law. Businesses recognise the value of having a diverse board that reflects society and their customers. That is why we have reached this important milestone on time.”

But we must not let our guard drop. Progress has relied on making sure new appointments are diverse, and this must continue as women appointed since the Davies report begin to end their terms on boards and replacements are sought.

Addressing the gender pay gap is the right priority – and we should set a target for reducing it. While we believe publishing pay gap data could be misleading, we will work with the Government to ensure that rules on what is published are flexible enough to be relevant to each company.

To see real progress, however, we need to challenge occupational stereotypes by encouraging more women into male dominated industries and investing in careers advice.”

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Diversity is on the agenda when it comes to building public confidence in business

The CBI’s Katy Pell wrote:

“If the UK is to tackle the gender pay gap, which to a large extent is due to cultural and occupational factors, more must be done to make sure there is a wide range of people coming into all careers and professions. Firms can help by speaking to young people and taking on occupational stereotypes in schools – science is a subject for girls too and boys can become just as good carers as girls.”

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Does business need to overcome stereotypes?

Martin Hawley is the founder of Boardcircle who help companies ‘share’ directors as non-execs. He told us:

 “We think is that there is a cultural bias to be overcome about what a leader ‘looks like’.This makes it an uphill battle for women to be selected for leadership positions. But it’s a battle worth fighting……………. In the end, a greater number of women on boards isn’t just better for women: it’s better for business.”

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Can we help boardrooms find an untapped reservoir of talented and successful women?

 Debbie Bannigan, CEO of national drug & alcohol recovery charity Swanswell said:

“For me, the question isn’t ‘where are the talented women?’ but ‘how do we connect this amazing reservoir of talent with the unmet need in our Boardrooms.”

And listen to our podcast debate with Laura Bates, Ruth Hunt and Helena Morrissey

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