Survey reveals gender bias in managers' salaries

Women across the UK will have to wait 187 years before their take home pay outpaces men, according to data from a new survey

The findings, released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and CELRE, indicate that female earnings have increased by an average of 6.8 per cent over the past 12 months, up from 5.2 per cent reported in last year’s survey. With men receiving an average increase of 6.6 per cent, the data signals a return to the trend set between 1997 and 2006, when female movements in earnings were higher.

In real terms the average female executive is earning £32,614 – take home pay that is £13,655 less than the average male equivalent of £46,269. At the current level of annual pay increases, this means it will not be until 2195 before female pay outstrips men. The data also shows that female directors have the longest wait. Parity for those in the IT sector will take even longer and, across all industries, female directors in Scotland will have the longest wait for parity. However, junior executives in the energy sector are bucking the trend as, with their current earning power, pay equality will arrive by 2010.

The 35th National Management Salary Survey also provides employers with disturbing news about staff retention. Three-quarters (75 per cent) admit they are finding it increasingly difficult to hang on to their staff – a figure that has risen from 28.5 per cent in five years. The top three job functions experiencing retention problems are IT (28.1 per cent), engineering (26.3 per cent) and sales (22.8 per cent).

In a repeat of recent surveys, this year’s results show that the total labour turnover for female executives is greater than that for men (14.3 per cent compared to 12.3 per cent). Labour turnover amongst women is also at its highest point since 2004 (14.7 per cent).

The figures show that women are also more likely to quit their jobs (7.2 per cent compared to 5.9 per cent) or ask for an ‘internal transfer’ (3.3 per cent compared to 3 per cent). However, loyalty to employers is highest in the South East, where just 3.6 per cent of women and 4 per cent of men have resigned in the past 12 months. Scotland sees the highest resignation rates for both sexes (9.8 per cent for women and 7.2 per cent for men).

Unsurprisingly, given the economic conditions of the past year, redundancy figures have more than doubled (to 3 per cent from 1.4 per cent in 2007). The data shows, however, that female executives are bearing the brunt of staff cut-backs, with 3.4 per cent made redundant across the UK, compared to 2.7 per cent of men. Redundancies are highest in East Anglia (23.9 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively).

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, said: “At least with a glass ceiling it is possible to see through to the next level. However, when it comes to equal pay, it seems that the glass is now opaque. To have to wait several generations is inexcusable and it is time that the lip service of the three decades since sex discrimination was first outlawed is transformed into action.”

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