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Promises and practices: job evaluation and equal pay forty years on!


  • Kay Gilbert is Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde.

Kay Gilbert, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow G1 1XU, UK; email:


This article examines the claim made by Barbara Castle when introducing the Equal Pay Act (EPA) in 1970 that there is nothing preventing unions pressing for job evaluation schemes to achieve equal pay. It does this by examining the research on potential hurdles to job evaluation and those that can be found in the UK law since the introduction of the EPA. The article concludes that the standards for selecting job evaluation and the obstacles of introducing job evaluation have significantly changed over the period, leaving little promise of an extension of its use to achieve equal pay.