Katie-Bulmer Cooke: Pay should represent the role, not the gender

Pay should not be about gender.
Pay should not be about gender.
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Last week I watched the coverage of the publication of the gender pay gap figures with great interest.

As a women in business myself, I was intrigued to find out what the gap, if any, would be, and having been self-employed for well over a decade, I’m always keen to learn more about the world of employment within large companies.

Related: How Sunderland companies rank in the Gender Pay Gap report

With all companies with over 250 employees being asked to submit the details of their gender pay gap for the first time, in line with new government policy, it was a significant day for many employers and employees.

Not only did they have to be transparent about the gender pay gap, they also have to reveal the percentage of women and men who were given bonus pay and who’s was higher.

The headline numbers don’t make for positive reading, with many companies revealing significant disparity between genders, but these numbers are exactly that … the headlines. It doesn’t necessarily mean that men are being paid more than women, or vice versa, for doing the same job.

If both a male and female employee were in exactly the same role with the same level of authority and responsibility, of course they should both be paid exactly the same, have the same bonuses and the same contract.

Pay should be representative of the job role and not the gender of the employee, but the job role should also be given to the best person for the job regardless of their gender.

I’m all about girl power and love seeing other women achieving great things in the world of business, but I feel exactly the same about guys in business too.

The figures show that the gender pay gap has decreased by 0.3% in the last year, which suggests that more women are in higher paid roles and perhaps experiencing more career progression.

But ultimately, in my opinion, no matter whether you’re male or female, striving to achieve more, whether that be financially or otherwise, should always be encouraged and nurtured within the work place.

It doesn’t have to be confined to employment either. Thanks to the internet and social media, there has never been a better time to start your own business, either as a full-time concern or a side hustle.

I was always brought up on the saying ‘shy bairns get nowt’ and ‘if you don’t try you’ll never know’, and there hasn’t been a week that’s gone by since the day I started my business as a teenager that I haven’t reminded myself of those phrases.

So, if you’re dreaming of a promotion, a new job or starting up on your own, then go for it.

Create the opportunities you want and then grab them with both hands.