Directing Equal Pay in the UK ICT Labour Market
Claire Keogh (University of Salford, UK), Angela Tattersall (University of Salford, UK) and Helen Richardson (University of Salford, UK)
Copyright: © 2006
The UK labour market is dramatically changing, with rapid technological innovations alongside globalisation where organisations are required to place a premium on human and intellectual capital. The demand for labour is outstripping supply, and businesses are increasingly dependent on their ability to attract, invest in and develop their workforce (Kingsmill, 2003). However, a recent comparative report of the information technology (IT) workforce in Holland, Germany and the UK indicates that women are haemorrhaging out of the IT sector (Platman & Taylor, 2004). Given that presently there is an IT specialist’s skills shortage of 18.4% (IER/IFF, 2003), and female IT managers represent a mere 15% of ICT managers, 30% of IT operations technicians and 11% of IT strategy planning professionals (EOC, 2004a), this suggests that the ICT industry is not equipped for equality and diversity at work. Despite many years of egalitarian rhetoric and 3 decades after the UK Equal Pay Act (1970) was introduced, women still receive on average 18% less than that of their male counterparts working full-time and 41% less than men when working part-time hours. The ESF-funded DEPICT project seeks to identify pay discrimination experienced by women in ICT at a national level throughout England. An important aim is to highlight the impact of pay and reward discrimination has on the underrepresentation of women in the ICT labour market. From this study, we hope to more clearly understand the reasons for the gender pay gap, particularly in the ICT sector; and the impact this has on women’s entry and retention to occupations where they are already severely underrepresented. Equal pay is an issue for all; it’s unjust, unlawful and impacts on social justice, equality and economic performance (EOC, 2001b). Pay is a major factor affecting relationships at work; distribution and levels of pay and benefits affect efficiency of organisations, workforce morale and productivity. It is vital for organisations to develop pay systems that reward workers fairly for the work they perform (ACAS, 2005).