Surprise, male professional sports team has large gender pay gap

This is actually quite marvellous, The Guardian’s report on the gender pay gap figures. For we’ve one just gorgeous little note:

In sport Millwall Holdings, the parent of the Millwall Football Club reported a pay gap of 80% in the hours before the deadline.

Hmm, would it be possible for us to explain this? Quite possibly, yes. The highly paid people in a football club are the football players. Maybe the manager and coach as well, but it’ll be the playing squad. Women’s football isn’t really a professional game at present, men’s is and has been for well over a century. Thus a football club built around the men’s game is going to have rather a large pay gap between the playing squad and the people who make the sandwiches. Thus this observed gender pay gap.

The Guardian managing not to get this at all:

The figures are imperfect. The key measure of the median hourly pay gap across an entire business does not address the gap in similar job roles;

That’s not what makes the figures imperfect it’s what makes the figures entirely useless. Because they’re not taking account, at all, of different job roles. Thus that reporting of that gap at Millwall.

This next I have to admit to not quite knowing about:

Some eight years after the law was tabled to compel companies across Great Britain to reveal the extent of the difference between male and female wages, the data showed that women were being paid a median hourly rate that, on average, was 9.7% less than that given their male colleagues.

By midnight on Wednesday 3,010 companies and public-sector organisations of a total of 10,014 which had filed had reported a pay gap that was above the national median of 18.4%.

Not knowing because this could be just the arts graduates messing up the numbers. But what they seem to be saying is that the gender pay gap at the large organisations which must report is lower than the national gender pay gap. 9.7%, less than that national 18.4%. Hey, the capitalist fat cats are doing pretty well, no?

Earlier figures from public-sector organisations, which had to report their gender pay gaps by 30 March, suggested nine in 10 paid men more than women, with an overall gender pay gap of 14%.

The capitalists also doing better than the State.

But now to add a little bit of that mansplaining logic to the subject. Some 20% of UK organisations which must do this reporting have a gap in favour of women. OK, so, what are they going to be forced to do in order to rectify this situation? Cut women’s pay? Stop promoting them? Have a fast track scheme for male managers? What? Sauce for goose is of course sauce for gander, even in these modern times.

Yes, we know what the answer will be. That it’s not such individual pay gaps that matter, it’s the overall whole which does. OK, great, therefore the other 80% of the companies don’t have to do anything either, do they, because it’s not the individual organisation that matters, it’s the overall whole.


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  1. If we break it down.. and it’s revealed what proportion of the paygap is due to motherhood, and people still insist nevertheless we must do something to bring the gap down. a) is it reasonable for whatever we do to exclude motherless careerists from benefiting from those measures b) whatever measures we do take we have to be careful that we don’t do it by just making motherhood a relatively less attractive pursuit.

      • So the football club has to hire some number of female players (presumably “doing the same job” equally well) so that it can pay them the same….

        Mandatory disclosure of information always seems so much more reasonable than coercion over behavior. After all, don’t we want government in possession of all the facts? In fact, additional data feeds calls for additional coercion, as government understands the data as poorly as the Guardian does. You don’t stand for Parliament to measure anything, but to boss other people around. That is “the point of the exercise” (the collection of gender-pay numbers).

    • There is no way to reward the needy by rulebook without increasing the value of being in that position. No matter how “careful” we are, any measure to equalize pay will precisely make less attractive the unpaid career of childrearing. Britain will be blessed that some number of women will continue to elect that career, which the army of accountants and rule-writers will argue requires additional measures and larger staff.

      • Some who think ‘something must be done’ about the paygap will be those who want the child bearing and rearing to be less costly for themselves. Something costs less, you’d expect more of it. However most measures of closing the paygap are more akin to increasing the opportunity cost of motherhood.

  2. A company I used to work for as an IT tech support bod is one of the ones with a ‘negative gap’ favouring women.

    That’s not too surprising considering that it’s a 3rd sector organisation with mostly female managers that’s located on the North Wales coast. There’s actually an overall pay gap favouring women in that region of the UK.

    Despite that the organisation’s Diversity Officer was entirely focused on advancing women. My IT department came under fire because of the number of men – women were offered free IT training to try to change that, but none took it up.

    Even though most of the managers and the CEO were women, there were leadership courses and help with career development exclusively available for female staff. Much of that was tax payer funded and run by a group called Chwarae Teg (fair play in Welsh) with the stated goal of fighting the wage gap.

    I remember getting a snug little lecture about my male privilege just before our Diversity Officer shot down to Cardiff for the Womenspire awards for gender equality. Quite a nice tax payer funded jolly, with bubbly and canapes followed by a live show. The Patriarchy works in mysterious ways.