Sticky floors and glass ceiling research

The National Equality Panel has commissioned a team of researchers at ISER to look at pay gaps experienced by minority ethno-religious groups and disabled people.

The £10,500 project involving Simonetta Longhi, Cheti Nicoletti and Lucinda Platt will establish where pay gaps exist and attempt to identify what contributes to them, for example in terms of differences in educational qualifications, concentrations in part-time work, or type of job.

It will also look to see if pay gaps exist and are greater or lesser at different levels of pay. Lucinda Platt explained:

“We will try to see whether pay gaps can be ‘explained’ in terms of a range of differences, but also evaluate whether gaps are more pronounced for the worse paid, that is whether they are held back by ‘sticky floors’, or if the better paid nevertheless still face hurdles in the form of a ‘glass ceiling’.”

Among ethno-religious groups, the research will focus on the pay of Indian Hindus, Indian Muslims and Pakistani Muslims compared to the pay of majority White British Christians. The team will also compare the first with the second generation. Among disabled people, the study will look at whether there are distinctive patterns by type of disability or condition.

The study will make use of the Labour Force Survey from 2002-2008 and builds on detailed research already undertaken at ISER for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission into pay gaps across a range of equalities areas.

The NEP plans to make use of the research as it puts together “an authoritative analysis of inequality” for the Government. Its report will investigate how people’s life chances are affected by gender, race, disability, age and other important aspects of inequality such as where they were born, what kind of family they were born into, where they live and their wealth. Ultimately it will analyse how equality trends have changed over the last decade and establish where gaps have widened or narrowed in society.

The NEP has commissioned the research from the ISER team after attending a briefing last November by 16 of the Institute’s researchers on a range of current and future research which also included child poverty, disability, taxes and benefits, parenting and child development.


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