A new era of pay transparency
The row over gender pay at the BBC has important lessons for companies facing a new era of pay transparency.
The gap between average pay (which companies are now being obliged to report) tells us very little about actual pay equality which is about a woman being paid the same as a man for the same job. I suspect many companies would be found failing on that measure but have been shielded from criticism by the convention that employees never discuss their salary.
Unlike the BBC, private companies don't have to publish the individual salaries of their top employees. But what happens if their staff decide to make them public anyway perhaps as part of a campaign for pay equality? Not so far fetched in the era of #metoo.
Or what if someone leaks the figures to the media. We've seen how toxic the issue has been for the BBC's employee relations and for the reputation of its top management. However hard it is for companies to address the issue without huge increases in its costs the danger of not doing anything could be even greater.
Photo credit: Christine Matthews