Women in finance lag behind in pay stakes

Salaries in the financial services sector have increased by more than £10,000 in the past five years, according to research by the Blomfield Group recruitment consultancy.

The average salary in 2001 stood at £23,347, but has now increased to £35,370.

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The gap between the average earnings for men and women in the sector, however, has increased slightly, Blomfield’s snapshot of current market trends showed.

In 2001, a woman could expect to earn a typical salary of £22,074, compared with £24,497 for men – a difference of £2,423.

Despite equal pay legislation, the gap has now grown to £3,060 in 2006, with women earning £33,847 on average, compared with £36,907 for men.

But Keith Robinson, managing director of Blomfield’s outsourced HR business Origin, said women in financial services were not being discriminated against.

“The pay differential stems partly from the fact that fewer women are applying for, or getting, the higher paid jobs. It is not a matter of being discriminated against based on the same work,” he said.

…and female placements edge upwards despite slow growth

The number of women registering for financial services jobs has only risen by 1% in the past five years, the Blomfield Group’s report showed.

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Registration levels for both men and women have remained roughly the same since 2001, with women at 43% (up from 42%) and men at 57% (down from 58%).

There are now an equal number of men and women being placed in financial services roles, according to the research. However, the number of women being placed in financial services jobs has registered a slight increase, from 48% to 50% in the past five years.

Tara Ricks, managing director of Blomfield’s permanent recruitment business Joslin Rowe, said some women were deterred by a career in financial services.

“The issue is more about ensuring the industry does its utmost to attract women in the first instance by targeting university undergraduates and school leavers. It needs to smash lingering stereotypes and educate them on the opportunities available to young women,” she said.

…but average pay eludes female staff

Men working in the financial services sector are still earning 8% more than their female colleagues on average, taking home 104% in average pay, compared to 96% for women.

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The difference in average salaries between men and women has fallen slightly, from 11% in 2001. But women are only earning 1% more now than they did five years ago.

Robinson said women were highly valued in the financial services industry, but the sector still had image problems.

“The fact remains that financial services remains a victim of its traditional masculine image and that women in more senior roles are a relative rarity – hence the lower average salaries.”

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