Pay rises for women outstrip men for 10th year running

Women have received higher salary increases than men for the 10th successive year and are more likely to be given a bonus, but they are still more likely to resign than their male counterparts.

Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and salary analysts Remuneration Economics shows an average increase in earnings of 6.7% for women and 5.6% for men in the 12 months to January 2006 – the highest movement in pay for five years.

Women managers in the HR sector increased their earnings by 6%, against only 4.8% for their male counterparts – putting the sector sixth in this year’s earnings league table – two places higher than in 2005.

In real terms this means that female managers in the HR sector earned an average of £43,868 in the year to January 2006. But this is still £9,670 less than the male equivalent of £53,538 – a 22% difference.

The gap at director level in the HR sector is £43,369, with the average female director earning £129,063. However, across the UK, in organisations with a turnover of less than £25m, women directors come out on top, earning £127,369 compared to £116,511 for men.

Despite larger pay awards and higher incidents of bonuses, women are still more likely to resign. In this year’s survey, female resignation rates stand at 5.7%, compared to 4% for men.

The region with the highest female resignation rate is East Anglia (11.8%) and the manufacturing sector (15.3%) has the highest female resignation rate compared to any other industry.

The 2006 survey also indicates that, despite the narrowing of pay differences for female managers, gender inequalities persist.

The number of women in team leadership roles has fallen to its lowest level for five years (32.5%) and the gender pay gap is still growing as individuals get older (from £297 at the age of 25 to more than £10,000 for those over 50).

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the CMI, said that unless employers address the issue of gender inequality they are in danger of seeing a continuation of the trend in senior female executive resignations.

Val Lawson, chair of the Women in Management Network, said this trend might be attributed to the number of women taking career break. “However, it is a pattern that must be reversed because, allowed to continue, it will deny employers access to a considerable pool of talent.”

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