Discrimination ‘not responsible for gender gap’

Discrimination is not a significant cause in the gender pay gap between men and women, according to new research released today.

The report, by the Institute of Economic Affairs, found factors like working conditions and job preferences are more important than gender.

“The widespread belief that the gender pay gap is a reflection of deep rooted discrimination by employers is ill-informed and an unhelpful contribution to the debate,” said Professor J.R. Shackleton, author of the report.

“The pay gap is falling but is also a reflection of individuals’ lifestyle preferences. Government can’t regulate or legislate these away and shouldn’t try to,” he added.

Attempts to tackle gaps in pay, like the Equal Pay Act, were criticised for placing burdens on employers and often causing more harm than good.

The report also revealed men tend to seek higher pay while women seek job satisfaction, tend to work longer hours and put in more overtime.

There are other pay gaps for things like ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation but they interact in unpredictable ways, the report said.