Gender pay gap narrows for top-level HR workers

HR is winning the gender pay battle within its own profession, according to
CIPD research.

The poll of 2,000 HR professionals shows that the gender pay gap at HR
director level is now almost non-existent.

The Rewards Survey lists female HR directors as being paid 1.3 per cent less
than their male colleagues, compared to a gap of 5.6 per cent last year and
30.2 per cent 10 years ago.

The gap at senior manager level has halved over the past 10 years, although
it still stands at 8.2 per cent. This figure, however, is way below the
national average of 18 per cent.

Pay comparisons at lower HR grades show negligible differences. The research
also highlights that there is no gender bias in HR over bonus payments.

Charles Cotton, rewards and employment conditions adviser at the CIPD,
believes it is important HR is showing the way in reducing the gap.

"HR must lead by example in gender pay. What is really pleasing is that
the gap is small when bonuses are included," said Cotton. "All to
often, people just look at base pay, but its shows that women have equal access
to incentive pay as well."

The study also reveals that although HR directors received higher than
expected annual pay increases last year, they are losing out compared to their
counterparts in other functions.

In 2002, HR directors received an average 4.6 per cent increase, taking
their average pay to £57,449 a year.

However, they are still earning more than 4 per cent below directors of
other business functions, who average £60,000 a year. In contrast, during 2000
HR directors’ average pay was 3.2 per cent above their counterparts in other

Cotton feels HR professionals are losing out on pay because of the sector’s
increasing popularity.

"HR has become a sexy sector with more people wanting to enter the
profession – it is simple supply and demand," he said.

By Paul Nelson

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