Equal pay for women still 57 years away, figures suggest

Equal pay for women is still more than five decades away at current rates, according to a report published today by XpertHR and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The 2010 National Management Salary Survey shows that female salaries increased by 2.8% over the last 12 months, compared to 2.3% for men. However, with the average UK salary for a male manager currently £10,071 more than that of a female manager, women face a 57 year wait before their take-home pay is equal to that of their male colleagues.

Within the HR sector, female salaries increased by 3.1% over the last 12 months, compared to 2.9% for men. However, with the average salary for a male manager currently £7,847 more than that of a female manager, women face a 107 year wait before their take-home pay is equal to that of their male colleagues, making HR the sector with the longest wait until the pay gap equalises.  

Although this year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1970 Equal Pay Act, data collected from 43,312 individuals in 197 organisations reveals that male pay outstrips female pay by as much as 24% at senior level. The worst offending sectors were IT and the pharmaceutical industry.

Mark Crail, head of salary surveys and HR benchmarking for XpertHR, said: “Although the report shows that employers are continuing to make at least some progress, however limited, in closing the gender pay gap, there is no guarantee that even this can be sustained. Widespread job losses in the public sector and the continuing difficulties facing most companies could easily throw the gains of recent years into reverse.”

As well as stark differences in pay, the research also reveals a contrast between male and female labour turnover rates, particularly with regard to redundancy.

Over the last 12 months, 4.5% of the female workforce experienced redundancy, compared with just 3% of men. The difficult economic circumstances combined with unsatisfactory remuneration may also have contributed to a dramatic increase in resignations, particularly at director level where 7.7% of female directors voluntarily left their posts in the last year, compared to just 3.6% of men.

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