HR gender pay gap hits £50,000 for high fliers

Female HR professionals are lagging behind their male colleagues by up to £50,000 per year, research has revealed.

A survey of more than 5,000 HR professionals by the Chartered Management Institute and salary data firm Celre found the median basic salary for men was £36,220 per year, compared with £28,893 for women.

This equates to a 20% pay gap, far in excess of the national average of 12.6%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But Charles Cotton, reward adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said HR leaders should focus on shrinking the business-wide wage gap before tackling their own problems.

“HR professionals should be looking at this issue from across an entire organisation, not their own department,” Cotton told Personnel Today.

“This is an issue for all professions, but HR is paid to do a job, so it should be conducting internal reviews and looking to demystify the causes of pay divides.”

The pay gap for HR employees grows to almost £9,000 per annum when bonuses and other entitlements are added, and reaches almost £20,000 each for the top 25% of earners in each gender.

The division grows even wider at board level, with male HR directors earning £50,000 more than their female equivalents, according to median total earnings.

“At senior levels, appointments may reflect the bias of the organisation and of the board,” Cotton said.

Jo Causon, director of marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, said: “It’s time the lip service of the three decades since sex discrimination was first outlawed is transformed into action.”

Roughly four in five of the HR professionals surveyed were women, which mirrored the real-life gender ratio, according to Cotton.

HR inequality



  • £36,220: median basic salary for male HR professional
  • £28,893: median basic salary for female HR professional
  • 70:30: approximate ratio of females to males in HR
  • £50,000: how much more a male HR director earns than his female equivalent.

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