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Mind the pay gap

05 September, 2011 - Source: Kindred

You might have heard, read or seen a bit of debate last week about a somewhat inflammatory issue known as the gender pay gap.

On Tuesday evening, as part of a partnership Kindred set up with the magazine, Stylist exclusively broke figures from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) revealing that the pay gap between male and female executives working in the same job roles currently stands at a whopping £10,546.

Given that the Equal Pay Act was passed more than four decades ago (Made in Dagenham tells the story behind this brilliantly), making it illegal to treat women and men differently in terms of pay and conditions of employment, we had a feeling the research was going to cause a bit of a stir when we first reviewed it. It’s fair to say though, what happened next surpassed the expectations of everyone here and the team at CMI.

With rich data from more than 35,000 UK executives to work with, as well as some exciting/shocking figures – great news that the pay gap appears to have leveled out at junior executive level, not so good that five times as many women as men at senior management levels are being made redundant – it was up to us to get people to take notice of the research and what needs to be done to address the issues it raises.

On Wednesday morning, the story made the front page of The Guardian (as well as a Kipper Williams cartoon) and Financial Times, with articles also appearing in The Independent, i, Metro, Daily Telegraph, Daily Star and Daily Mail (which ran three pieces). The Times devoted two pages to the research, including a case study and a huge infographic breaking the figures down by level and comparing this year’s findings to previous surveys.

CMI spokespeople were interviewed on programmes and stations including Today on BBC Radio 4, Sky News, BBC News Channel and Wake Up to Money on BBC Radio 5 Live, while the story was debated on BBC Breakfast, Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2, the ITN News, PM on BBC Radio 4, Channel 5 News, 6 Music and Day Break. More than 20 regional BBC radio stations covered the issue and a Sky News Radio pre-recorded interview with CMI Director of Policy and Research, Petra Wilton, ensured coverage across a huge range of commercial stations. The coverage prompted both the Home Office and Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, to speak out on gender pay.

On Thursday, the gender pay gap was the subject of an editorial in The Times and prompted a number of articles and blogs including pieces in g2, Comment is Free, The Independent, The Economist online. By the end of the week, even John Humphreys was blogging about it! The issue took Twitter by storm, with more than 1,900 people having tweeted or retweeted links to the story by Thursday evening.

While the coverage continues to flood in, we’re reflecting on what was an incredibly exciting and rewarding week for us. Campaigns like this are one of the many reasons why we love working with clients like CMI, taking complex research and reports and turning them into campaigns that capture the public’s imagination and really get people thinking and talking. 

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