The Paula Principle

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More

Digital skills, Japan and the PP in Covid times

Covid has meant that almost all of us are having to use more technological skills - and in many cases to learn them. Communication IT is the most obvious form, with Zoom, MicrosoftTeams and so on to the fore in helping us stay in touch, personally as well as professionally. But international analyses are increasingly showing how in the short term at least there is a shift in the labour market which favours digital skills - and therefore risks accentuating the gender divide. A recent Financial Times piece on this led me to a broad-ranging presentation by OECD's Mariagrazia Squilliardici, covering issues such as digital literacy, careers advice, workplace climate,…
Read More

HEPI, careers and convergence

Covid seems to have diverted me from posting on PP issues for quite a while - no excuse. But a recent report on graduate earnings from the Higher Education Policy Institute brought me back to the case. The HEPI staff have painstaking pulled together data from a whole range of sources, from official longitudinal surveys to Linkedin. The headline-grabber funding was that the graduate gender pay gap (GGPG to its friends) is biggest for Russell Group universities, at 17%, but the analysis covered many other angles. It's worth noting first that the female/male educational gap continues to increase. In 2017 the F/M split at undergraduate level was 57/43, and this…
Read More

Net-zero economy: a competence challenge

I've been reading a most stimulating report from Nesta on preparing the UK workforce for the transition to a net-zero economy. The report offers a new approach to categorising employment sectors, defining them in terms of two dimensions: their current emissions, and the level of their commitment to a transition. This generates a fourfold typology. The green sector covers 'leaders' and 'neutrals'; the brown sector covers 'followers' and 'laggards', defined as follows: — Leaders: Industries in this category are the most eco-friendly, as they do not produce high levels of carbon emissions and are involved in activities that directly protect the environment across the economy: professional, scientific and technical activities;…
Read More

Better than equality?

In a previous post I discussed different possible effects of the current pandemic on gender and careers. On the plus side, the wholesale shift to working at home should (should...) blow a big hole in the prejudice against flexible working, with its related bias against anything that does not look like a full-time career. It will take time before we see how strong this effect is. I was ambivalent over how working at home would affect the domestic division of labour. It's possible that men actually being present at home would lead them to share childcare more equally. But I listened in on a recent RSA webinar on the future…
Read More

The PM and the Peter Principle

If you've read other posts on this site you'll know that they're all related - sometimes fairly loosely - to the fact that women's competences are under-recognised and under-rewarded. This is what I call the Paula Principle, and it's the simple mirror image of the much much more famous, 50-year-old Peter Principle, that "every employee is promoted to his [sic] level of incompetence." (The 'his' was of course used in those days as a universal; it had specific relevance in the case of Prof Peter's thesis, as only one of his 20-odd individual case studies was a woman: Miss Totland, an excellent primary teacher but a poor school inspector because…
Read More

Rebel Ideas

I've just read Matthew Syed's Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking. It's an excellent read - Matthew certainly knows how to take a single point and construct a readable chapter around it. The main argument, as the subtitle says, is to promote diversity - making sure that groups contain sufficient variety of background and thinking to achieve the best results. The book has a good range of examples, from scientific innovation to mountaineering to national intelligence. The overall argument is very convincing. 'Recombinant' innovation, which draws different ideas and disciplines together, can be so much more powerful than incremental progress. Permitting the expression of dissent can be a crucial…
Read More

Covid19 and its implications for the PP

Blog Other things being equal it seems that men may be harder hit by Covid physically – a higher proportion are affected and die.   (If that’s for genetic reasons it prompts fairly hairy speculation about the likely impact of future pandemics - no space for that here.)  But other things aren’t equal.   For a start women are more likely to be key workers, and therefore more exposed to health risks.   It’s also been pretty clear for a while  the economic impact will be tougher on women, at least in the first instance.   As usual, the Resolution Foundation has come up with speedy analysis.  Their report sums it up: Our overall finding is that 36 per cent of…
Read More

Mill on the Floss – again, this time linked to the WMC

You may recall that The Paula Principle begins with scenes from George Eliot's Mill on the Floss. There again, you might not, so a recap: Tom and Maggie Tulliver are brother and sister; she is twice as bright (or 'cute, as her father puts it) as he is but he is the one on whom precious family funds are spent sending away for an education; the 'schooling' turns out to be personal tutorials in topics such as Euclid and algebra, given by Mr Stelling, a parson with an expensive wife to keep; Tom cannot relate these to his practical interests and so learns little; meanwhile Maggie devours books at home,…
Read More

The pension pay gap

By the time a woman is aged 65 to 69, her average pension wealth is £35,700, roughly a fifth of that of a man her age, according to a study at the end of 2018 conducted by the Chartered Institute of Insurance. The emphasis is mine. It's an amazing figure - one sex's pension wealth at just 20% of the other's. How does that rather abstract notion of 'pension wealth' translate into income difference? A recent report from the trade union Prospect (Tackling the gender pension gap) found that the gender pensions income gap (39.5%) was more than double the size of the total gender pay gap (18.5%), with the…
Read More

Drinking after work: a social capital comparison

A recent piece in The Times bemoaned the absence in New York of the habit of a drink after work with office colleagues. Apparently this is due in part to the highly competitive nature of American offices, so colleagues don't want to risk losing their edge; and in part to the dangers of behaving inappropriately in a highly litigious culture. A further reason is the high-octane character of American cocktails and the high alcohol level of some of their beers (10%!), not conducive to more than a single round. James Dean is the paper's US Business Editor, and so presumably has an accurate finger on the pulse of office cultures.…
Read More