Men earn between 15% and 18% more than women in South Africa, and it has been that way for the past 50 years, says Mark Bussin, an executive committee member of the South African Reward Association and chairman of remuneration consultancy 21st Century. This is despite legislation to ensure equal pay.
The issue is not specific to South Africa - the US and Canada face the same problem.
Bussin blames prejudice. He says as companies cut costs, human resources managers have become reluctant to promote, or even hire, women. Many think that women workers automatically mean maternity leave, or the possibility of not returning to the workforce after having children. He says the following about the gender pay gap:
• The issue is compounded by women being reluctant to question their salaries or negotiate a better one;
• HR managers assume women they hire have partners to support them; and,
Bussin warns boards should not ignore the issue as the company could end up at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration as well as the matter damaging its reputation.