In the latest instalment of the depressing gender pay gap saga, it has emerged that ITN, the news and multimedia production company which makes news programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, pays men an average of 19.6% more than women.
The report states the pay gap is mainly caused by fewer women in many of the senior leadership roles across the company. Of ITN’s top 20 earners, only three are women.
Here young journalist Katie Wilson, who worked for ITN, tells us about her own experience when she found out she, and the man sitting next to her, asked for more money...
"When I worked at ITN I asked for a pay rise. I asked for it at the same time as a male colleague who was doing exactly the same job as me. Both of us were filling in for a more senior colleague, doing the same work, the same number of hours and taking on the same amount of extra responsibility. After job sharing for three months, we decided to ask for more money. We did it together as we thought there was a better chance of the bosses saying yes, and by that point we’d both proved we could do the job.
My male colleague simply fired off an email to HR, and a few days later the deal was done – an extra £3,000 in his pocket. He told me our acting boss, who we were filling in for, said he should check his emails, hinting his raise had been approved. Meanwhile, my pay rise was turned down. I couldn’t understand it. I’d done exactly the same thing as my colleague. We’d emailed HR like our boss had told us to.
In fact, I’d gone one step further and asked for a meeting with HR to put my case for wanting more money forward. I was shocked when the response I got back was they still wanted me to do the work, but wouldn’t be paying me an extra penny.
I already knew my male colleague had been offered more money, so I’d assumed it would only be a few days before my raise would also be approved. When I brought this up with my boss and HR, the reason they gave was he had "done a few extra shifts than me". It’s true, he had started doing some shifts first, but only by a couple of weeks as I’d been on annual leave at the time. At the point we asked for more money there was absolutely no difference in the amount of work or hours we were doing. My boss then said he wanted me to continue doing the work as I was “one of the most valued members of the team”, but he would understand if I didn’t want to. I was in a catch-22 situation. I could have just refused to do the shifts and gone back to my normal duties – but then I’d be taking myself out of the game. I’d worked hard to climb the ladder. I wasn’t about to let my colleague get ahead.
It wasn’t to do with the quality of my work, as my boss had said as much. Although I certainly didn’t feel like a “valued” member of staff by this point. It wasn’t to do with experience, as my colleague was younger than me (I was 31 and he was 27). He also had fewer years in the job. I’ve been in my job for nearly 10 years now. He must have at least two years’ less experience than me. He also started at the company 18 months after me. So why were we being treated differently?
I felt completely sidelined. I knew I was good at my job, so the fact they wanted me to continue doing the work without properly paying me for it was a kick in the teeth. It wasn’t my male colleague’s fault so I wasn’t mad at him. But how my boss and HR behaved just made no sense. I’m sure my boss had got a pay rise in his new position as acting head of our team – so why was I the only one getting nothing extra for doing more work? It came across as a ‘jobs for the boys’ moment – something that still very much exists in my experience – and I felt I had clearly been excluded.
It was only by chance a female colleague mentioned there were ‘Lean In’ style meetings happening in our office that might be helpful to me. I got in touch with the woman who ran them – who turned out to be very senior in our company – and she agreed to see me. Over the course of the next couple of weeks we had several meetings as she looked into my case. By the end of the third week she had resolved the issue completely. She told me I had been treated unfairly, that my boss had shown bad management – and I even got an apology. My pay was put in line with my male colleague’s and backdated to the time when he got his raise – a whole five months beforehand.
Equal pay was starting to become a very hot topic in the news then. I don’t know if that gave the company a nudge to address the issue, but I got my pay rise shortly after that. However, if I hadn't taken it to top management, my company would just have got away with it. In hindsight, I now know I could have spoken to a number of senior female colleagues in my office, but I didn’t directly work with them or realise their door was open to me at the time.
There must be thousands of young women out there being treated like I was. But until office culture changes, no matter what we do, it will just keep happening again and again. I’m no longer working for the company, but when I read about ITN's Gender Pay Report today, I felt I had to say something and I'm glad I have."
In response to the shocking figures, ITN CEO John Hardie made this comment: “In common with many companies our gender pay gap is mainly caused by having fewer women than men in senior leadership roles and we know that we have to work even harder to address this. We are putting in place tough targets, including halving our pay gap within five years, alongside initiatives that will empower and support women in order to progress their careers. Solving these long-term issues will not happen overnight but ITN is committed to tackling the root causes in order to provide a culture in which everyone’s voice is heard and the path to the top is open to all.”
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