Equal pay eludes women in occupational health

Women
in occupational health (OH) are being shortchanged
on salaries by nearly 25 per cent in comparison with men working in the
profession.

Occupational
health (OH) professionals are enjoying pay increases in line with the rest of
the economy, but their salaries are already above the whole economy norm,
according to a survey reported in the latest issue of Personnel Today’s sister
publication Occupational Health Review.

In
addition, OH professionals’ wage packets are often boosted by bonus payments
and an extensive range of benefits. And while hours can be long and few receive
overtime, holidays exceed those seen in other sectors and on-the-job training
is common.

However,
there is a significant gender pay gap within the profession, with female employees
earning 23 per cent less than the equivalent male wage.

The
survey analyses salary and benefit information from 162 OH professionals,
collected in June 2004; it looks at sector, gender, occupation and grade, as
well as regional differences within the profession.  

IRS
pay and benefits editor, Sheila Attwood said: “In all, occupational health
professionals receive a higher salary and holiday allowance than the typical UK
employee, but they often have to work more than their contracted hours.
However, even though women dominate some areas of the profession, there is a
gender pay gap that needs to be addressed."

Key
findings include:


The median full-time salary for an occupational health professional in 2004 is
£32,000


Within the survey’s sample, the median basic salary for a male employee is
£37,000, while a female can expect to earn just £30,000. This gender pay gap is
higher than the economy average


London and
the South East emerges as the
best paid UK
region for OH practitioners.


Most occupational health professionals enjoy an annual increase in salary. In
2004, this stood at a median of 3 per cent across all occupations. However, the
level of pay increase is often based on individual performance and is not up
for negotiation with the individual concerned


Most OH professionals are expected to work 37 hours per week, but seven in 10
employees work in excess of this, with no extra pay


Occupational health workers typically receive 27 days’ annual leave, but can
boost this by working in the public sector, where holiday increases to 30 days
per year


Employees typically receive five days training a year, most of which is paid
for in full by their employer.

By Mike Berry

 

 

 

 

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