Have you been paid yet?

I listened to Sandi Toksvig on Desert Island Discs the other day. Stay with me.

If you haven’t heard it you must as she is basically sunshine and dynamite and currently changing the world for the better via the Women’s Equality Party.

The WEP point out that, due to the 20% gender pay gap, March is effectively the first month of the year that women are getting paid.

That’s right, you’re pretty much working for free in January and February compared to your male counterpart. A reason not to do Dry January if ever I heard one.

They have made this video and “…want women across the UK to show us (use #paydayparty)  how they’re ‘celebrating’ pay day this month – with 20% less to party with than their male colleagues.”


On Desert Island Discs Sandi told an anecdote about how, and I am paraphrasing, a news editor would ask a senior, experienced female journalist if she wanted to be Economics Editor. The woman would politely decline and say she ‘couldn’t possibly’ as she didn’t have the skills. So the editor would offer it to a man half her age with half the experience and he would accept it there and then and go and buy Economics for Dummies.

It reminded me of something that happened last summer.

I was working as Mrs Robinson with a senior creative director at an advertising agency. She was using me to hire a freelance mid-weight creative team for her. I found her a great male duo and she liked them, but when it came to the money chat it turned out that their rate was £50 more a day (each) than she was being paid herself.

They were good, but they weren’t AS good as her and, importantly, had 8 years less working experience.

I had previously spoken to them about their rate as it was high, probably £100 per day too high for their level, but they said they were consistently being paid that amount.

Why? 1. Because they asked for it 2. Because more often than not they got it. 3. They believed they were worth it. 4. Therefore their clients believed it too.

This isn’t a one off. Quite often when I recruit for permanent positions my male candidates are much more confident about talking about money, raising their salary expectations between roles and asking for what they want. Most of my female candidates are naturally more cautious, want to take my lead on what they should be on and don’t want to ‘push it’ incase they put the employers off. Of course I have candidates of both sexes that do the opposite but I would say this is 80/20 the case.



The gender pay gap will be high on my agenda when Mrs Robinson fires up her engines later in the year, starting with open and frank discussions with clients and candidates. The UK is moving in the right direction but as WEP leader Sophie Walkers says, “It is frankly a bit of a joke that the gender pay gap of 20% persists, 45 years after the passing of the Equal Pay Act.”

In the meantime, here’s how I suggest we celebrate this month;

Buy only 4 out of 5 mates a drink when it’s your round.
Listen to The Spice Girls minus Posh. No offence Easy V.
Get your taxi to drop you off four fifths of the way home.

Sounds like a shit party.


Perhaps we should all just work a 4 day week instead. Because in real terms that is what we’re being paid for.


How are you celebrating yours?

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