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Question:

Human Resource Management in Context Resit Assignment 1 

Assessment 1 – Individual Report

Module Weight: 50 %

Hand in Date Friday 18th July 2014 (via turnitin)

Word count or equivalent: 1,800

Learning outcomes assessed:

LO1. Grasp of significant concepts relating to HRM

LO2. Evaluation of contractual relationships

LO3. Identification and evaluation of internal and external influences

 

The first assignment offers a choice of strategic and operational issues, and requires you to discuss answers in relation to an organisation that you know.

Choose only one topic from the list below. Identify your choice clearly in your report.

  1. With reference to relevant academic and practitioner literature, write a report on the role of HR in talent management. Use real-life examples to enrich your report.
  1. With reference to relevant academic and practitioner literature write a report on the role of HR in equality and diversity in the workplace.
  1. With reference to relevant academic and practitioner literature write a report on the latest debate on gender pay gap.

Use real-life examples to enrich your report.

 

Answer:

The Gender Pay Gap Debate

A number of critics contributing to the debate on gender pay gap posit that pay gaps based on gender differences is a reflection of discrimination and inequalities in the workforce market (International Labour Conference 2007, p.97). When considered closely, this phenomenon majorly affects women. Theories related to gender pay gap, attempt to explain the genesis of factors that formulated the pay gaps in the labor market. The scientific theory of management, for example, claims that a reward should be equivalent to the input of the employee. The debate on equal pay gap often attract varied views from theorists who consider factors such as input of the employee, suitability of the doing the respective job, and the number of working hours. Notwithstanding, the debate on gender pay gap also rests on historical injustices that gave rise to the gender discrimination in the workplace. The debate on the gender pay gap attempts to find solution to what feminist and advocates for women right perceive as discrimination against women. The validity of the policies that anchor different patterns of paying the workforce in terms of gender has attracted numerous criticisms.

Reasons for existence of gender pay gaps

Some authors trace the gender pay gap to historically trends in labor market (Arulampalam, Booth, and Bryan 2007, p. 163). The male dominated the trade unions that would advocate for the quality or the nature of service that the employers would give as a reward to their employees. The routines in the labor market permeated channeling of women into poor paid, low skilled jobs that granted limited chances for promotion. The evidence of existence of gender inequality in the workplace exists in both developed nations and those that are developing. In Britain for example, greater number women now undertake paid employment. Notable is the entry of women into the male dominated profession.

The existence of myths associated with varied professions contributed to the gender inequality and gender pay gaps in the job market. William and Adam-Smith (2010, p. 132) assert that segregation of jobs and occupations based on gender is a poignant feature of the contemporary employment relations. The dominance of women in a given class of jobs especially the nursing field or supermarket cashier and their under representation in others add to the gender gap pay debate. Arguably, the fact that the women dominate certain professions in the job market is an opportunity cost for the better paying jobs dominated by men. The domination of certain jobs based on gender and subsequent difference in pay pattern emanates from the nature of the job. For instance, male dominate the manual work such as construction, transport, and metalwork whereas women dominate the care assistance and hairdressing. Given the pattern of employment trends and domination trends of either gender in certain professions, the gender pay gap is set to remain. According to Williams and Adam-Smith (2010, p.132), the persistent segregation at work is a principle reason behind the resilient of gender pay gap.

Some critics argue that the women earn less on average than men because of their over representation among poorly remunerated jobs at the bottom of the horizontal hierarchies (Williams and Adam-Smith 2010, p. 132). The over representation of women in poorly paid jobs, part time jobs significantly reflects on the choices of the women as opposed to a policy in the workforce market. Notably, many women often decline to pursue organizational careers as men because they tend to focus on other issues such as family, which make part time jobs more convenient.  Arguing from this proposition, the gender pay gap seems to fall in the choices of female or male to dominate a given career as opposed to others. The preference of male or female to dominate a given career or profession considerably depend on personal factors as opposed to the labor market principles (Russell, Smyth, and O’Connell 2005, p. 4). For instance, men can as well work as hairdressers, but they prefer to choose other professions that are manual to hairdressing. The justification of equal pay should thus focus on paying male as female in similar jobs as opposed to dissimilar jobs.

Studies show that vertical segregation, as a reason for the resilience of gender pay gap is not adequate (Williams, & Adam-Smith 2010, p. 133). There is adequate evidence that male dominated jobs tend to pay higher than female dominated jobs of similar level of skills and qualifications. In this sense, the female dominated jobs are undervalued and do not receive the much importance as those dominated by men, even when objectively they appear to be equally or more demanding. A considerable volume of literature tend to assert that occupations regarded by the society as a preserve of women are treated as less important, not so high skilled and therefore attract less pay than those filled by men (Williams, & Adam-Smith 2010, p. 133). For instance, care assistance attracts low pay yet it requires similar qualification as a manual worker in the transport industry. Interestingly, the society perceives the care assistance job as a preserve of women hence the continued dominance of female in this sector. Similarly, manual workers in the transport sector are men because the society seems to perceive this work as a preserve of the male.

The societal perceptions concerning various professions are major hitch in filling the existing gender pay gaps. For instance, it is difficult to attract male or female to pursue jobs perceived to be women or men oriented. Moreover, marrying the pay of the dissimilar jobs tend to receive much resistance because of the existing payment designs. In the past, trade unions and movements advocating for equal rights have pilled pressure on the government to create equal pay. Russell, Smyth, and O’Connell (2005, p. 3) note that the pressure from such movements was important impetus for the enactment of laws that outlawed discrimination in terms of gender, color, or pay. Nevertheless, the existing pay structures have constraints the filling of the gender pay gaps. Various governments seem to dodge upsetting the existing pay structures that would lead to revamping of the gender pay gap that exist in the society.

The segregation on part of the employers contributes to the gender pay gap. Before 1970s, direct discrimination confined women to pursue certain professions because the employers dictated the gender they wanted for a particular job (Russell, Smyth, and O’Connell 2005, p. 3). The differences in preference for men and women account for the trends exhibited in the job market where a particular gender dominates over the other. For example, despite enactment of legislation that prohibits discrimination in the workplace, inequality in the workplace persists in some careers such as construction industry where the male dominate and the hairdressing industry where the female dominates.

The gender pay gap also resonates on the choices made by either gender concerning higher education acquisition. Critics note the social structures are responsible for the stratification of the gender dominance in a particular job (Todd and Evaline 2004). For example, male or female gender tends to prefer pursuing certain profession to higher level than others. The choice to pursue a given career to the higher level technically places a person into a given cadre. The qualification is a concern for many well paying jobs and the practice is common in both developing and developed nations (Todd and Evaline 2004). For example, in European nations, the people with tertiary qualification are less likely to be unemployed because of low skilled employments are abundant in the labor market. Another aspect that seems to influence the acquisition of higher education and the subsequent effect on the labor market is the social economic condition that favors an individual into pursuing further education. The number of women pursuing higher education is lower than the number of men that pursue the same. The result of this differences is the over domination of men in the high paying jobs as opposed to the women counterpart.

On the account of education or academic qualification as proposition to the gender pay gap debate, the existence of the dominant gender in a particular profession tend to propagate the existence of the gender pay gap (Blau and Kahn 2008b, p.123). Harmonizing the payment structure in the labor market is a challenge that many countries are yet to win. The categorization of jobs in the labor market affects the pay structures of these jobs. For example, legal experts belong to a given pay structure, engineers, teachers, and doctors as well as nurses belong to different pay structures. The design of the pay structure accommodates the features that make the pay structure of the job different from other professions. Notably, as long as the payment structures exist in the society and depend on the profession, the gender pay gap would remain resilient (International Labour Conference 2007, p.97). For example, marrying the pay structures in terms of qualification is an uphill task because certain jobs require the use of more physical strength than the others do.  For example, the construction workers do not necessarily need to have high qualifications, but the ability to lift heavy items. Arguably, given the nature of this job, women often prefer other jobs to it. In marrying the pay pattern in the job market, the gnawing question is whether the labor market is going to have equal pay for the jobs with similar qualification or not.

Some critics argue that the best approach of solving the gender pay gap is to through creating policies that would marry pay structures of various jobs (Blau and Kahn 2007a, p. 56) For instance, there is evidence that pay structure in United States differ in terms of race and qualification even though the legislation criminalizing such exist. The difference in the wage gap should exist when the two jobs are different. Unfortunately, a common trend exhibited in the job market is that managers of various jobs tend to get higher pay, which at times, is a number of times the pay of the lowest paid worker, yet the difference in job does not exist. Largely, filling such gaps would help in reducing the inequality in experienced in the gender pay gap.

The occupation tendencies are an integral aspect of the gender pay gap (International Labour Conference 2007, p. 123). For example, in the industrial sector, many men as opposed to women tend to pursue the technical jobs. This attribute seems to expose them to work in the industries as opposed to their counterpart. Attempts to change this trend largely rest on the individual choice as opposed to labor market policies. For example, commonality of approaches which men or women make concerning a given job tend to lead them into doing such careers, but it fails to address the social factors that influenced a woman or a man into pursuing such careers. Patten (2014) suggests that the best approach of addressing the gender pay gap is to encourage the women to pursue careers that expose them to compete with men. However, the resistance, which this approach has received, includes the predominant social systems such as preference for a given career by a specific gender.

The change of laws in the labor market is necessary if the government is to address the gender pay gap. The wage mechanism that place certain jobs above others are some of the challenges that such laws should address. In addition, setting minimum wage for careers is a move that would help the labor market to harmonize the differences for pay for male and female (Arulampalam, Booth, & Bryan, 2007, p. 163). For instance, if the labor market categorizes certain jobs within pay brackets, people pursing such jobs should get similar pay irrespective of their gender. Nevertheless, studies show that women often take leaf or seek few working hours as opposed to their male counterparts. This aspect often results to the difference in the pay between women and men.

In conclusion, the debate on the gender pay gap resonates around the difference in the pay between male and female. Historically, the male dominated the trade unions an aspect that affected the trends of advocacy for various jobs in the market. The industrial preference and personal choice are other factors that have contributed to the gender pay gap in the job market. The female gender tends to dominate jobs that are low paying than men. On the account of qualification, male and female may have similar qualification, but the difference in job design affects the pay patterns as in the case of construction worker and the assistant caregiver.

 

References

Arulampalam, W., Booth, L. A., & Bryan, L. M. 2007. Is There a Glass Ceiling Over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap Across The Wage Distribution. Industrial Labour Relation Review. Vol. 60, No. 2.

Blau, D. F. and Kahn, M. L. 2007. The Gender Pay Gap. Have Women Gone As Far As They Can? Available on http://amp.aom.org/content/21/1/7.short

Blau, D. F., & Kahn, M. L. 2008. The US Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence. The National Bureau of Economic Research. Pp 45-66. Available on http://www.nber.org/papers/w10853

International Labour Conference. 2007. Equality at Work: Tackling the Challenges : Global Report Under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Washington DC,: International Labour Organization. Pp 97-112.

Patten, E. 2014. On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap. Available on http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/08/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

Russell, H., Smyth, E., O’Connell, J. P. 2005. Degrees of Equality: Gender Pay Differentials Among Recent Graduates. New York: ESRI. Pp3-10.

Todd. P and Eveline, J (2004) ‘Report on the Review of the Gender Pay Gap in Western Australia’

Williams, S. & Adam-Smith, D. 2010. Contemporary Employment Relations: A Critical Introduction. London: Oxford University Press. pp 125-134.

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