Gender Pay Gap: the good news, the truth, and the future

The gender pay gap debate has been prominent in the media for some time now, but what’s the truth? Faith Gundani looks at what the future for the gender pay gap is likely to be.

wooden king chess piece on a stack of coins alongside a wooden queen chess piece on a stack of coins against a dark grey backgroundGender disparity with regards to pay within the workplace is a thing of the past, according to a recent study by PeoplePerHour. The findings suggest within certain industries and locations across Britain, women are actually paid higher compared to their male counterparts; specifically within freelance roles. “The findings show…women [are] earning more than me at £37 per hour as opposed to £35 per hour for men. Brighton, Bournemouth and Milton Keynes are found to be the freelancer earning hotspots.” (Platinum Business, 2015)

All this is encouraging when considering the amount of work that is still to be done across the board to reduce the economic inequality amongst the sexes. Under the Equality Act 2010, which collates a combination of 116 legislation to ‘a new discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society;’ employers must give men and women equal treatment in the terms and conditions of their employment contract.

The truth?

Like most legal notions, everything seems extremely straightforward until you begin to examine how true this might stand within various sectors and positions.

Within financial and professional services, the notion of a gender pay gap seems to be prominent at senior levels. A report examining almost 2000 employees working in front office Investment banking and markets jobs in London, revealed that:

  • Women are paid less than men at all levels and the gap starts early with a 10-16% gap, even at analyst and associate level in favour of male bankers
  • The widest gap is at Vice President (VP) level (VPs are generally 27-32 years old), when it reaches a staggering 27%
  • For women still in the business at Managing Director (MD) level, the gap narrows with female remuneration packages close to their male colleagues
  • The ratio of men to women working in front office investment banking rises from around 5:1 at the lower levels (analyst, associate, VP) to 17:1 at MD level

Unfortunately these striking figures are just a glimpse of the situation mirrored across banking and finance, and are not to be taken lightly. For women who are investing in their careers with the hopes of being successful across whichever path they take, there is something to bear in mind where career progression is concerned.

What does this mean for the future?

Female employees who seek after a worthwhile return on many years of work may take the opportunity to be rewarded elsewhere, if not recognised and promoted accordingly in their current role. The article mentioned above, referring to high paid women working as freelancers, might be an indicator of what is just be the beginning of a shift from traditional positions to new sectors such as technology; which would be equally as rewarding if not more beneficial.

Aside from ‘female empowerment’ – a view that we neither support nor oppose, there is a serious risk to lose a talented work force if businesses do not prioritise equality within the workplace. This is true across many facets not limited to gender such as race and age. Although such reports and articles may seem trivial and somewhat dated, they do not take away the aptness of balancing a workforce whatever the size of the company, the industry or the position itself.

Worryingly, the World Economic Forum states “we’ll have to wait 81 years for gender parity in the workplace;” (Cann, 2014) time which we simply do not have considering the difficult positions faced in the international economic climate today.

Simply, the way men and women with their stark individual differences compliment each other, and the benefits thereof, are not just a legal obligation to fulfil but a positive and rewarding business strategy to follow.

 

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