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Long way to go to close UK pay gap: Karren Brady


LONDON — Business leader and star of the U.K.’s “The Apprentice” series, Karren Brady, has told CNBC that the solution to the gender pay gap is “very simple”.

Brady, who is a baroness and vice-chairman of West Ham United Football Club, said there isn’t a magic formula to pay equality.

The fairies don’t come down to sprinkle the dirt. She said that the boards and CEOs need to be united in their efforts to pay employees what they are worth and give equal pay to women doing similar jobs.

Brady is a partner and keynote speaker at Karren Brady’s Women in Business & Tech Expo, which is taking place virtually on Oct. 13-14. This event “is for women of all ages” and provides “inspiration and guidance to help them find the right career or to support their business.

Brady spoke ahead of the event, which was a deadline set by the U.K. government for companies to disclose their gender pay gaps information. Brady said to CNBC that the goal of asking the businesses to report the gap is to shame and encourage them to address it. I believe this has succeeded. 

She believes that there is still a lot of work to be done in order for the gap to close.

We are still a long way away from it. We know that for every pound that a man earns, a woman will make 86p. This is based on the gap reports. That gap will be closed over 100 years, while it is closer for some industries like finance and tech. There is still a lot of work to be done to solve that problem.

Research conducted for the Women in Business & Tech Expo about how women had come through the Covid-19 pandemic indicated that it had provided many with an opportunity to “reset,” Brady said.

According to her, she believes that a majority of women are seeking a better balance between work and life. 62% of these respondents said so, while 59% stated that achieving this work/life balance is even more important than a good salary.

CNBC spoke with Brady to say that there are many things employers can do, including “thinking less flexible work and more agile working.” This is also about acknowledging the reality that women need time off.

Baroness Karren Brady, a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, a sporting executive, tv personality, newspaper columnist, author and novelist, speaks at Pendulum Summit, World’s Leading Business & Self Empowerment Summit, in Dublin Convention Center.

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Many employers felt it was cheating to have people work from home. “I think that most people realize now that you can work efficiently from home. Having that flexibility really helps,” she added. She said women won’t be employed by companies that don’t value them or pay them fair wages.

“So I think a lot of these issues are really being thought about and companies are really thinking that if 50% of the workforce is women and you want great people to work for you … they’re going to have to address some of these issues,” she continued.

“Take some Control”

Brady said to CNBC, that she has always worried about the women in this situation.

She said that she has spent her entire life encouraging women to start businesses and helping women get into doors.

To encourage women to look at their career opportunities and their potential. What can women do if they have taken time off? They want to be promoted. What is the best way to get a raise? They want to climb the corporate ladder. She said.

All of these are important things for women. You need to not only take part, but do something. You have to be in control of your career, life, and where you go.


Brady was vice chairman at West Ham United Football Club and commented on recent reports that many players of the England football team refused to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Brady stated that she believes vaccination is a personal choice.

It’s nearly impossible to make someone vaccinated. There will be many reasons people might not. She said some of these are conspiracy theories too absurd to be mentioned, while others are genuine concerns.

It’s really a matter of personal preference. “It’s an individual choice. I know that I have been able to tell many players who have it. However, there are still some reservations. We’re helping them overcome these.