Many people with disability remain unemployed in Australia; Salary history deemed irrelevant in bid to tackle gender pay gap increase in the UK

Many people with disability remain unemployed in Australia; Salary history deemed irrelevant in bid to tackle gender pay gap increase in the UK

Today’s global news summary brings news from Australia, the UK, and China and discusses issues as diverse as disability and employment, the gender pay gap, and birth rates. 
 


Many people with disability remain unemployed in Australia
Labor markets and institutions | Demography, family, and gender

As reported by ABC News, over 53% of people with disability, who are of working age, were unemployed in 2018. During the disability royal commission hearing yesterday, former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes said that there hasn’t been an improvement in employment figures for decades. “I've described the performance of employers, in terms of employing people with disabilities, as abysmal,” Dr. Innes, who is blind, said. “We've been employed at a rate of approximately 30 per cent less than the general population during the last 30 years,” he added. Whilst Dr. Innes was initially opposed to setting targets for employers to hire a certain number of people with disability, he has since changed his mind and explained that in addition to setting targets, the development of strategies in order to achieve the targets is essential. The disability royal commission will hear from 12 of Australia’s largest employers during a five-day inquiry and find out how their recruitment programs aim to attract and retain employees with disability.

In her article Melanie Jones says that “Despite the introduction of a range of legislative and policy initiatives designed to eliminate discrimination and facilitate retention of and entry into work, disability is associated with substantial and enduring labor market disadvantage in many countries. Identifying the reasons for this is complex, but critical to determine effective policy solutions that reduce the extent […] of disability-related disadvantage.”

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Salary history in the UK deemed irrelevant in bid to tackle gender pay gap increase
Behavioral and personnel economics| Labor markets and institutions |Demography, family, and gender

A report has shown that the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom has increased by more than 1% compared to last year, Sky News reports. The report marks the annual Equal Pay Day, otherwise known as the day when women begin to work for free for the rest of the year as, on average, their wages are lower than those men receive. As a result, The Fawcett Society, a membership charity which campaigns for women's rights, has called employers to stop asking prospective employees about their previous salary. The pay gap for full-time workers this year has increased by 1.3% compared to the year before and the organization believes that asking about salary history can lead to “pay discrimination” which follows women from one role to another. “Asking about salary history can mean past pay discrimination follows women, people of colour, and people with disabilities throughout their career. It also means new employers replicate pay gaps from other organisations,” Jemima Olchawski, Fawcett Society chief executive, said.

Despite major efforts at equal pay legislation, gender pay inequality still exists. In his article IZA World of Labor author Solomon W. Polachek explores how this can be put right.

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Nina Smith on the gender pay gap: An interview with with Daniel S. Hamermesh
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IZA Discussion Papers
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The birth rate in China has fallen to its lowest point in over 40 years
Demography, family, and gender

The Guardian reports that the birth rate in China has fallen to its lowest level since 1978, and for the first time in decades, in 2020 births fell from 10 to 8.5 per 1,000 people. The data released by the country’s national bureau of statistics indicates that the government will have to work hard to prevent a demographic crisis. No reasons were given for the dramatic drop, however, previously demographers have pointed out that the low numbers of women of childbearing age as well as the rising costs of raising a family could be possible causes. The worries about China’s population can also largely be attributed to the one-child policy that was put in place in 1980 and continued, with some gaps, through to 2015. In an effort to reverse the trend, governments and local authorities have tried to implement a variety of policies, which include easing the number of children a family is allowed to have, and reducing the costs of education and raising children. “The response to the population crisis is in a race against time, and measures to encourage childbirth must be expedited,” Yao Meixiong, a demographics expert, commented in front of Jiemian – a Chinese business and financial news outlet.

Wei Huang has explored the effect of China’s one-child policy (OCP) and has found that “according to the World Bank, the fertility rate in China dropped from 2.81 in 1979 to 1.51 in 2000.” Not only did the OCP influence the country’s birth rates but it also “had a large and persistent impact on many aspects of society.” Read his full article.

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