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National target needed to reduce gender pay gap – CBI

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The next government should ensure there is a target for reducing the pay gap between men and women, says the UK's largest business group.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said a national target would bring the issue of the gender pay gap sharply into focus, in the same way the Lord Davies review has shone the spotlight on women on boards.

Katja Hall, the CBI deputy director-general, said: “Gender should not define what people earn and we need to put equal pay firmly into the spotlight.

“Currently, too many areas of work – often those with high pay potential – are seen as male-dominated, with women steered away from options that would give them better access to higher pay and seniority.

“This simply has to change. We must focus on tackling the pay gap by providing the right careers advice in schools and boosting support in the workplace for career development.

“A future Government should ensure an overall target for the reduction of the gender pay gap is set at a national level to raise awareness of this issue.

“And this would mean we can clearly track if more progress is really being made on gender diversity.”

In a new paper, the CBI has outlined priorities for boosting gender diversity in the workforce. These include:

•Businesses committing to meaningful diversity policies and, where possible, aspirational targets, with a focus on supporting women within the workforce and re-integrating maternity returners effectively into their roles

•Businesses showing greater openness to job-sharing in more senior roles and ensuring recruitment processes maximise the diversity of shortlists

•The Government doing more to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits and options for flexible working, including better guidance for businesses

•The Government considering increasing the amount of free provision of childcare when it is affordable to do so.


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