In 2015, research by the CMI found that, on average, women managers earn 22% less than their male colleagues in equivalent positions. For junior managers, this amounts to an average difference of £8,524, rising to £14,943 at senior levels. The problem is compounded by the lack of female representation senior management positions. Further research from the CMI showed that women make up only 20.7% of the FTSE 100’s senior managers. It is clear that, even in 2016, we have a long way to go before we have achieved anything that could be accurately described as equality.
The issue has risen in prominence to a point that it can no longer be dismissed or ignored. At the beginning of the year, the World Economic Forum placed gender equality among the 10 biggest global challenges. Women make up roughly half the world’s population and therefore half the world’s potential talent and, if we live in a society that claims to reward talent and hard work, the gender pay gap is inexcusable. It is now a matter of urgency that we examine the factors that allow this situation to persist.
The same research from the CMI posited that a lack of aspiration and inspiration is a massive part of the problem. A survey of women managers confirmed this, with 55% of respondents feeling there was an absence of female role models, but 81% feeling that their presence would help to raise aspirations. A lack of role models has been cited as one of the biggest barriers to the hiring and promotion women, along with issues relating to confidence and aspiration. The combination of these factors is a bigger problem than work-life balance and unconscious gender bias. HR is an industry traditionally thought of as being an environment in which women can thrive. A 2015 poll from Business Insider UK put Vice President of HR as number 7 in a list of the highest paying positions for women. It was the only non-medical position in the top ten where the majority of professionals with this job title were women.
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SOURCE: HR Grapevine / MOL Learn