Gender pay gap to come under scrutiny of Holyrood committee

Gordon Lindhurst

Could closing the gender pay gap boost the Scottish economy? This will be a key question for the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Fair Work and Jobs Committee as it launches its inquiry into the impact of equal pay.

The committee’s gender pay gap inquiry comes as current research shows:

  • Progress on closing the pay gap has been so slow that on current trends it will not be eradicated until 2069 – or 99 years after the 1970 Equal Pay Act, with women working full-time in Scotland still earning on average 6.2 per cent less than men.
  • The largest pay gaps are found in skilled trades and management, with finance and insurance the industrial sector with the highest pay gap, at 29.9 per cent. This is a sector where 51 per cent of employees are women.
  • According to UK government figures, equalising women’s productivity could add almost £600 billion to the economy, while if the 2.2 million women who wanted to work could find suitable jobs, 10 per cent could be added to the size of the economy by 2030.
  • Convener of the committee, Gordon Lindhurst MSP said: “Equal pay is still not a reality for many working people in Scotland. An important question for the committee will be: is this holding back Scotland’s economic growth?

    “The committee will examine whether addressing the gender pay gap could positively affect Scotland’s business performance. We want to know: what is the effect of unequal pay on the Scottish public sector? And crucially, what action is required from the Scottish government to tackle the issue?”

    Mr Lindhurst added: “The committee wants to consider the economic value of equal pay and understand the impact of the gender pay gap on the Scottish economy.

    “Vital to this inquiry will be the direct experiences of people ‘on the ground’- the businesses and organisations that are working to close the gender pay gap, and individuals who struggle to access equal pay. Their expertise and experiences will guide and lead our work, telling us what measures are being taken – and what still needs to happen - to create a level playing field.”

    The deadline for submitting evidence to the committee is March 10 2017. The committee will produce a report on its findings on the gender pay gap, including policy recommendations, in June.

    Share icon
    Share this article: