Right at the start, I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, I’m just saying that the practicality of a gender pay gap has always confused me. Some readers may be able to enlighten me, but allow me to explain.
I used to work on an HR system, back in the day. There were kind of three parts to it. You had a position – manager, analyst, etc etc. You would have jobs, which is what each position would do – let’s keep it simple and say team management and data input as examples. You would then have a person, and you’d put all three together to understand who was doing what.
As a result of the an internal audit at the BBC released yesterday that revealed that male staff at the corporation earn an average of 9.3 per cent more than female colleagues, the BBC have decided to use mixed-sex interview panels during recruitment to close the pay gap between its male and female employees, according to a report in The Times.
Every job advert I’ve ever looked at, either as an applicant or a recruiter, has indicated a job banding or grading. All my friends all work within pay structures.
My understanding of the issues at the BBC was that a male presenter of one primetime show was paid massively more than a female presenter of the same show or another primetime show, which is obviously unfair. I don’t see how equality in an interview panel will affect this.
I’m not saying that mixed interview panels are a bad thing, but surely there are more obvious things the BBC could do with a pay structure. “These shows are top category, so this position will be paid this amount and this position will be paid this amount. These ‘back office’ jobs will be paid this amount.”
In my world, that mechanism attaches pay to the position and not the person. That makes it fair and, well, if you can’t find someone to fill the position that you think deserves that money, you find someone else or review the rules about how you categorised the position in the first place.
There will always be pay difference through natural movement employees and incremental pay increases over time, but it would be close and based on performance in those circumstances.
Where I think mixed interview panels would help is to ensure that recruitment is based on meritocracy, a word I hate but use in the context that the best person gets the job without any unfair consideration of protected characteristics, because sometimes arseholes exist.
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I’d be a better man.
I’d listen to her
If I Were A Boy by Beyonce