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Long wait for equal pay

31st August 2011

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Recent research suggests that it might take up to 98 years before female managers in the UK earn the same as their male counterparts.

Pay gapA report by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that women managers are now paid an average £31,895 per year, whilst men who do the same job earn an average of £42,441. Despite these figures, women’s pay has risen more than men’s in 2011 and junior female managers now earn slightly more than males. Women’s salaries have also increased by 2.8% this year, compared to 2.3% for men.

Still, for women managers as a whole the pay gap is wider in 2011 than 2010 and as a result the CMI says the number of years it will take before women managers achieve equal pay has risen from 57 to 98.

Petra Wilton, the CMI director of policy and research, has said that CMI are pleased that junior female managers have caught up with males, but that this year’s figures show that businesses still contribute to the gender pay gap by continuing to pay men and women unequally. She added that the pay gap is damaging to UK businesses and that the problem must be addressed.

In order to close the gap, CMI and Ms Wilton want the government to scrutinise organisational pay and demand more transparency. They also wish for organisations found guilty of fuelling the gender pay gap to be publicly exposed. However, they added that CMI was not calling for companies to be forced to reveal staff salaries.

The study shows that the pay gap is the widest in Northern Ireland, where male executives on average are paid £13,793 more than their female counterparts. This can be compared to Wales, where the salaries are most equal with men earning on average £2,441 more.

In the Midlands the pay gap is £11,346 and in London it stands at £11,129.

The CMI survey of 31,158 managers across the UK also found that female managers (4.2%) were more likely to quit their jobs than males (3.6%).

Exactly the same level (2.2%) of managers of both sexes had been made redundant.

National chair of the CMI’s women in management network, Sandra Pollock, said that too often managers are male and 45-plus and that her and her colleagues were fighting to ensure that professionals attract people based on talent, not age or gender.

Pollock added that it was wonderful to see the pay gap close at junior executive level.

In February this year an independent report for the government told firms they need to more than double the number of women on their boards by 2015, if they did not do so they would face government measures.

The author of the report, former minister Lord Davies of Abersoch, said he was happy with the progress that had been made since February, but that more needed to be done.

He said many companies can be proud that they have set out targets in order to achieve greater diversity on their boards, but that others are dragging their feet.

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