Portrait of a businesswoman in the 1960s. Today, more than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, gender inequality still persists in salaries. Photo: Getty
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Female professionals earn 35% less than male colleagues

Women now face worse gender pay discrimination during the second half of their careers.

Senior female managers earn 35 per cent less than their male counterparts, according to new figures. Women are now hit hardest by the gender pay gap in the second half of their careers.

Female professionals would have to work until they were almost 80 - that is, 14 extra years - in order to equal the lifetime earnings of a male equivalent in the same role.

The current gender pay gap stands at £9,069, according to the data, but the chasm widens between older men and women.

A mid-life pay crisis has emerged for professionals aged between 46 and 60, where the gender pay gap is at its widest at £16,680.

The gender pay gap is narrower, but still significant, for younger and more junior women, standing at 6 per cent for 20 to 25 year olds, and 8 per cent for 26 to 35 years olds.

The National Management Salary Survey, published by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and salary specialists XpertHR, surveyed more than 68,000 professional UK workers.

It revealed that a “bonus gap” has also grown between female and male bosses. The average bonus for a female director stands at £41,956, while for male directors the average pay-out is £53,010.

The differential between average male and female annual salary increases is also affected by age and seniority. Across all levels, the average salary increase stands at 2.3 per cent, but inequality increases at senior levels.

Female directors enjoy, on average, a basic salary increase of just 1.9 per cent, compared to 2.7 per cent for male directors. Including bonuses, on average a male director took home £204,373, while a female director was awarded £171,945.

Gender discrimination in pay packets was outlawed 44 years ago under the Equal Pay Act, but inequalities still persist.

Younger women edge ahead of men in salary terms under one metric. In three of the five most junior job levels, female annual pay awards are an average of 2.4 per cent, compared to 2.3 per cent for men’s.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, said: Lower levels of pay for women managers cannot be justified, yet our extensive data shows the pay gap persists…

It’s not right that women would have to work until almost 80 for the same pay rewards as men. We have to stamp out cultures that excuse this as the result of time out for motherhood and tackle gender bias in pay policies that put too much emphasis on time served.”

Lucy Fisher writes about politics and is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2013. She tweets @LOS_Fisher.


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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.