Interviewer: Today we have the economist, Jim Bower in the studio. Jim, according to the government’s Women and Work Commission, women are still earning 17% less than men. Now the government has released new policies to tackle gender equalities in pay, but will they be enough?
Jim: Well, according to the Fawcett Society, under the current system it will take about 80 years before women working full-time earn as much as their male counterparts, and 140 years before part-time female workers catch up with men. Despite girls consistently outperforming boys at GCSE, A-level and Degree, findings show that within three years of graduating women are still earning less than men. 
Interviewer: So would you say that inequality starts in the classroom?
Jim: According to the Equal Opportunities Commission, 15% of young people in school are neither given advice nor encouraged into work experience placements in professions dominated by the opposite sex. The government’s response in schools is being praised by most, and involves introducing new schemes to give young girls better understanding of the wider choice of careers available to them, but there is still room for improvement .
Interviewer: Do you think that the government is missing the point?
Jim: Well, instead of closing the gap between wages of men and women in careers that require similar skill levels, the government is instead planning to spend ?20 million to raise the skill level of women working in these roles, encouraging them to change careers altogether. This policy will only reduce the available ‘woman-power’ in these lower paid jobs.  What we have to do is revalue the kind of work that women are doing such as cleaning, catering and caring for others – we’ve got to value it more highly.
Interviewer: Is it true to say that children cost mothers more than fathers?
Jim: According to the London School of Economics, mothers who returned to their previous jobs as part-timers quickly fell behind their male colleagues financially, and those that entered new jobs on a part-time basis did even worse.  Currently many companies still conform to ‘stuffed shirt’ policies that have no openings for part-time workers in senior positions. This is forcing a large workforce of highly skilled and qualified women with young children out of the boardroom , because they cannot deliver a 40-plus-hour week, and into jobs below their capabilities. Basically, the whole system still needs further reform if women are to have equal rights in the workplace and be able to bring up a family too. 
Interviewer: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for today. Jim, thank you very much.
Jim: My pleasure.
If you put all the country’s chief executives in one room, all they would produce would be a range of share options that would only benefit themselves and a load of corporate waffle and gossip. We are the people that actually organise and lay out coherently all the facts and figures. They wouldn’t even remember half of what was said if we didn’t record it for them.  You’d be surprised what we know about a business. Our internal knowledge should never be underestimated. I suppose I could earn a small fortune blackmailing the many bosses I’ve had over the years. 
One thing I’ve learned quickly is never offer to make coffee. In many businesses there is a ritual where everyone waits hours for the first person to say, “Who wants coffee?” That person then finds themselves in the kitchen for the rest of the day working as a junior catering manager. I should know, it happened to me when I first started here . Being the new person leaves you vulnerable, especially as I’m kind of on the lowest rung on the ladder . Once I’m qualified, I’m going to get someone else to make coffee for me! 
I run a tight ship and the secret is not to allow time wasting.  Half of every working day is spent in meetings, half of which are not worth having, half the time is wasted. Which means that nearly one third of office life is spent in small rooms with people you don’t like, doing things that don’t matter. The only reason people have so many meetings is that they are the one time you can get away from your work, your phone or your customers.  People say that the secret of a good meeting is preparation. But if people really prepared for meetings, the first thing they would realise is that most are unnecessary. In fact, a tightly run meeting is one of the most frightening things in office life. These are meetings for which you have to prepare, in which you have to work and after which you have to take action.
I’ve always had a strong work ethic. I believe that the best way to approach work is to write a list at the end of each day of what has to be achieved the next day. Then, get the most important jobs done first.  Most people do the opposite and do the easy, trivial things first, but that difficult report is not going to go away. I still maintain a routine in my life, although, of course, the activities and jobs to be done have changed quite a lot. The working environment is so different from my day. I’m not exactly a technophobe, but I’m glad I haven’t got to learn how to do everything by computer. I escaped the technological rat race just in time. 
I have to deal with everyone in the company to some extent. Everyone knows me and I believe it’s important to try to keep some harmony between my fellow workers. Being the first face they see, I try to be cheerful even if I’m not feeling on top form.  Think how easy it is to upset someone at home and then triple it: that’s how easy it is to upset someone at work. Upsetting your boss is the easiest thing to do. All you have to do is turn up and you are in their bad books. Keeping on the right side of them is simply a matter of anticipating their every whim and laughing at their pathetic jokes. People at the bottom are also easily upset. Helping them do their job is only going to be appreciated if you are the undisputed master of what they are trying to do.