The difference between the Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay

As the day dubbed “Equal Pay Day” approached in the UK, I caught up with Sarah Kaiser, diversity and inclusion lead at Fujitsu EMEIA, to learn more about the difference between the Gender Pay Gap and Equal Pay.

Much like many buzzwords these terms can become confused, and are often used interchangeably.

But Kaiser points out they are two very different things.

“Equal pay is when men and women are doing the same job, a job of equal value, are they actually paid the same amount?” she says. “The gender pay gap is totally different – it looks at average pay of all men and all women in an organisation, regardless of what role they do or how senior they are.”

While Friday 9 November has been dubbed “Equal Pay Day” what it also shines a light on is the pay gap between men and women as a whole.

Because of the current gap in pay between men and women, as of Saturday 10 November women are technically working for free until the end of the year.

What this really highlights is that men are more likely to reach higher-paid positions such as those in the c-suite, rather than women being paid less to do the same job.

Now I’m sure that does still happen in some places, but paying staff doing the same job role different wages solely on their gender has been illegal in the UK since the 1970 Equal Pay Act.

It’s no secret that in many organisations the people at the very top, and are therefore the higher paid, are predominantly men.

For this reason it’s no surprise that in the technology industry suffers from a significant gender pay gap – a diversity problem leads to a gender pay problem.

This is why so many people think the gender pay gap won’t be solved until the diversity gap is also closed.

In Fujitsu there is an equal pay differential of less than 1%, but the firm found it has a gender pay gap of around 16.4%.

Kaiser says: “We know that men and women are paid the same for the same jobs, but we want to get more women at c-level and in some higher paid positions. We have fewer women in technical roles, and technical roles tend to be higher paid, and more women in roles like HR, which sadly is not the highest paid function in the world.”

Some women are marking Equal Pay Day by putting an Out of Offices on their emails to highlight the disparity between men and women in the workplace.

Kaiser says in Fujitsu they have focused on transparency to try and equal the playing field.

“I found gender pay gap reporting really exciting, it was something that Fujitsu embraced as a company, to publish our gender pay gap last year and we’ve published ours this year again. We think it’s the only way we’re going to move the dial is by creating an environment people know where we all are and people are demanding change.” She says, and claims knowing the figures is helping accelerate change, bringing these issues to the forefront of people’s minds.

She’s not the only one who believes so – other experts in the tech sector have claimed gender pay reporting can help highlight the areas that have issues and encourage change.

There’s still a long way to go, but 2018 – the year of the woman – has been helpful in shining a light on how much still needs to be done, and how many people are willing to stand up for equality.

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