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Monday, 3 February, 2003, 18:59 GMT
Firms ignore equal pay audits
Woman stressed
Other figures indicate equal pay is a big issue
Fewer than one in five companies have in the past five years examined the difference between what they pay men and women, despite an explosion of equal pay claims, a survey has said.

Organisations with between 50 and 249 employees were least likely to have undertaken an equal pay audit
Take up of equal pay audits, as they are known, is lowest among small private sector firms, according to figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development's annual Reward survey.

In seven out of 10 cases, however, the audit revealed no significant difference between average male and female earnings.

The Amicus union recently urged men to go on strike over the issue of equal pay audits

Contradictory figures

Among the 23 employers that found a gap, the problem was most evident at middle and senior management levels and lowest in manual grades.

WOMEN IN BUSINESS
Dressmaking is the UK's worst-paid job
White-collar female workers earn 405 a week on average
Blue-collar female employees earn 251 a week on average
Source: ONS 2002

In those few instances where females earned more than their male colleagues, this usually occurred at non-management level, CIPD said.

The issue of equal pay audits could become increasingly important in the future, as the government is making it a requirement that all public bodies should carry out an equal pay audit.

The government is also considering whether to make them compulsory in the private sector.

This idea is not popular with private sector employers, with the vast majority of employers favouring a voluntary approach, according to the survey.

CIPD's findings contradict figures published recently by employment analyst Incomes Data Services.

Its research concluded that the gap between men and women's pay widened in 2002, and men's pay packets grew faster than women's for the first time in 15 years, because of awards given to male executives.


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20 Jan 03 | Business
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