MSPs are to explore why it looks set to be more than 50 years before women in Scotland can expect equal pay to men
Closing the gender pay gap could boost the Scottish economy, MSPs are expected to hear as part of an major new inquiry into the impact of equal pay.
The investigation from the Scottish Parliament's economy, fair work and jobs committee comes as progress to close the pay gap between men and woman has slowed to such an extent it is expected to continue for another 52 years.
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
Women working full-time in Scotland still earn on average 6.2% less than men, and the largest pay gaps are to be found in skilled trades and management.
Finance and insurance is the sector with the highest pay gap, at 29.9% despite the fact that 51% of its employees are women.
However, according to UK government figures, equalising women’s productivity could add almost £600bn to the economy. Also, if the 2.2 million women who wanted to work could find suitable jobs, 10% could be added to the size of the economy by 2030.
Committee convenor 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?”
“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 commitee is 10 March 2017. The committee will produce a report on its findings on the gender pay gap, including policy recommendations, in June.