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Cameron needs to get facts right on 'gender pay gap'

SO, David Cameron has given his backing to equal pay audits to combat an alleged 19.1% "gender pay gap". Mr Cameron would do well to heed Mark Twain's observation that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. The statistics associated with the "gap" have largely been discredited.

Carrie Lukas, in her web article It's Time That We End the Equal Pay Myth on forbes.com, highlights that the statistics of median earnings for men and women do not compare like with like. Ms Lukas points out that differences in career choices made by men and women are not considered.

Similarly, Christina Hoff Sommers, in her web article Wage gap myth exposed - by Feminists on huffingtonpost.com - indicates that the statistics do not stand up to scrutiny. Ms Sommers notes that one report highlighted the disparity in pay of social sciences graduates. On closer examination, however, they were comparing such disparate groups as economics graduates (66% men, median salary $70,000) and sociology graduates (68% female, median salary $40,000). This is hardly comparing like with like.

The above articles may be critical of American studies, but I believe it likely that UK reports are also compiled by innumerate individuals, too, perhaps for a "political" agenda.

If Mr Cameron truly wishes to campaign for fair pay, then he should not compel organisations to reveal the average earnings of males and females, which makes no account for salary differences between managerial, clerical and manual posts, or full-time and part-time employees.

Instead, Mr Cameron should compel organisations to use an approved job evaluation scheme to determine a fair wage for each post. These analyse a number of pertinent factors and have been in use in the public sector, with trade union support, for decades.



Belfast Telegraph