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The promised land

On Wednesday 4th April, the government has issued a final warning to businesses of 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap by midnight. The government believes that these measures will contribute to increasing awareness and encouraging culture change.


Theresa May writes:

“We will have established a baseline from which to hold [businesses] to account in the future. Shareholders and customers will expect to see improvements, and will be able to hold organisations to account if they fail to achieve them.”

We must realise that gender based discrimination lurks in the corner like a great big camouflaged elephant. Without the appropriate legislation and “naming and shaming”, we will never rid ourselves of this issue. In the climate of transparency, we must shine a light on the perpetrators and abandon “outdated stereotypes”.

Can anyone justify a man being paid more than a woman for doing the same job? It doesn’t make sense to me and I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to you. All we are asking for is fairness for all, not preferential treatment.

If the businesses needed any more reason to introduce equal pay, “there is also a clear economic imperative”; according to the Prime Minister, “it is estimated that if women and men enjoyed parity in their hours, pay and seniority at work then we could see up to £150 billion added to our GDP."

Another important aspect of the gender pay gap reporting is the highlighted lack of women in senior positions. The data shows how few women are progressing within organisations. In the NHS where 77% of the workforce is female, women still only account for a minority of senior leaders. I am personally not in favour of quotas but they could become necessary if as a society we fail get our act together and ensure fair treatment in a workplace (and out). In the words of Dee Hock, founder of Visa:

“Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is idiotic to replicate your weakness. It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours. It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.”

I strongly believe that making the gender pay gap a legal issue will go a long way to ensuring higher transparency in workplace diversity and equality policies, as well as bringing awareness to the unconscious bias in the hiring process. 

Iceland recently went a step further to eradicate the gender pay gap and became the first country  to make it illegal to pay men more than women.

“Under the legislation, companies and government agencies with more than 25 employees will be required to obtain government certification for their equal-pay policies. Those failing to demonstrate pay equality will face fines."

We must follow their lead - it’s prudent to have these checks and balances.

Then we are a step closer to the land we were promised. A meritocracy where women have the same pay and opportunities as men. Hallelujah!

Joel Kirkland is the Senior Consultant at Interim Partners specialising in Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices and Technology.


For further discussion on how this topic relates to the gig economy see below: 

While the gender pay gap is still present in the more flexible work, it is less pronounced and there is reason to believe the situation will only improve with the workforce becoming more flexible and mobile.

Interim Partners is running a series of events in conjunction with Bird & Bird on The Future World of Work. The rise in 'gig economy' working, apprenticeships and AI, bring with them different opportunities and challenges - including some significant legal risks. Bird & Bird's International HR Services Group will look at the changing employment landscape in the UK across 4 events in 2018:

  • The Future World of Work: the Legal Perspective (with Bird & Bird, 17th April 2018)
  • The Board of the Future (June 2018)
  • The Future of Remuneration & Reward (September 2018)
  • Building a Common Sense of Purpose: Culture & Engagement in the Future (November 2018)

If you’re interested in attending, please get in touch with David Dagger on

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