Labour MP Gloria De Piero Is Clueless Or Just Conniving About The Gender Pay Gap
OUR latest little excitement on the political front is that a Labour MP has decided to try to massage the facts about the gender pay gap. You’ll see it all over the papers today, the gender pay gap is 20% or so, that this is appalling and only the Labour party is going to do anything about it. Here’s the Mail as an example:
It will take another 60 years before women earn the same as men at the current pace of change, Labour warned today.
Women still earn just 80p for every pound men take home and the pay gap widened last year.
Shadow women’s minister Gloria De Piero accused the Tories of the ‘turning the clock back’ for female workers by failing to do more to reduce unfairness in the workplace.
Latest figures show that in April 2013, men earned £12.86 per hour and women £10.33, a gap of 19.7 per cent.
It marked an increase on 2012, when the gap was 19.6 per cent, with women paid £10.05 to men’s £12.50.
Since 2010 the pay gap has closed at a rate of only 0.3 per cent per year on average, according to the House of Commons library.
There’s a problem with this. Which is that Harriet Harman tried using the same set of statistics 5 years ago. Looking at male and female full time wages men do earn more. Looking at female and male part time wages women earn more. But the one thing you shouldn’t do is try to add part time and full time wages together in order to get to a total pay gap. Which is what Harman did and what De Piero is doing. This is such a no no that the chairman of the Statistics Authority, Sir Michael Scholar, wrote to Harman and said that she shouldn’t do this. The letter is here:
In the meantime, I enclose a copy of a note that the Statistics Authority will shortly publish on its website. This clarifies why figures as different as 12.8 per cent and 23 per cent have been used and explores different options for presenting the gender pay gap in an impartial and objective way.
The note explains that the figure of 23 per cent quoted in the GEO press release relates to the median hourly earnings of all employees (full-time and part-time combined) whereas ONS’s figure of 12.8 per cent is based on the difference in the median hourly earnings of full-time employees only. Neither measure is entirely satisfactory as an impartial and objective headline estimate. The former rolls together the quite different levels of hourly earnings for part-time and full-time employees; while the latter excludes the earnings of around one quarter of all employees.
These considerations suggest the need for a more extensive set of measures to present the differences between the earnings of men and women. Indeed, it is the Statistics Authority’s view that use of the 23% on its own, without qualification, risks giving a misleading quantification of the gender pay gap.
I trust that you will find this note of value pending the further work that ONS is planning on this issue later this year.
De Piero should know of this letter in which case she’s feeding us porkies, isn’t she? And if she doesn’t know of this letter then why the hell doesn’t she know of it?