Equal pay?

The Fawcett Society is holding its annual Women's No Pay Day on 30th October this year. The Society has labelled this as the day that women receive their last payslip of the year as the 17% pay gap between men and women means that women may as well work the last two months of the year for free.

This got me thinking, what is the equal pay situation like in the information industry? The industry is generally seen to be female-dominated – 65% of the candidates on our books are women. Does that positively affect the gender pay disparity? A quick opinion poll of my colleagues showed that they thought that the information industry was generally an equal one, with women well-represented at all levels of the profession.

I had a quick squiz at the Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for 2007 broken down by occupation and found that the mean annual gross income for male librarians is £26,838 compared to £19,632 for female librarians. For men and women librarians in full-time work, mean income is £29,480 and £23,926 respectively and for men and women in part-time work it is £13,872 and £11,499 respectively.

So why is it that in a female-dominated profession, women are still earning significantly less than men? Perhaps there are more men in higher positions of responsibility who therefore have higher average salaries but a larger number of women in lower roles? Perhaps women have taken time out to have families and so have not increased their earning power in line with men? Or perhaps men are more assertive when it comes to negotiating salaries?

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