Britain's women bosses face lifetime pay gap of £423,000

Female bosses get £15,000 less a year than men - and they’re more likely to be sacked, too

Sarah Cassidy
Wednesday 07 November 2012 01:00 GMT

Female executives earn a staggering £423,390 less over their lifetimes than male workers who follow identical career paths, according to new research.

Women bosses now earn £14,689 a year less than their male counterparts, with female directors earning an average basic salary of £127,257 – compared to a male director average of £141,946, the analysis by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found.

Women also receive less than half of what men are awarded in cash bonuses – the average bonus for a male executive was £7,496, compared to £3,726 for a female executive, the study found.

Though the percentage of women in the executive workforce now stands at 57 per cent, the largest since CMI began recording data in 1995, only 40 per cent of department heads and 24 per cent of chief executives are female.

Meanwhile a separate report from The Fawcett Society warned that women’s pay and career prospects were going into “reverse” amid the Government’s austerity measures.

The charity said today marks the point in the year when women in effect start working for nothing because of the gender pay gap – for every £100 men take home, women are getting £85 – a 14.9 per cent difference.

The CMI study also found that women are more likely to be made redundant than men, with 4.3 per cent of female executives made redundant between Aug 2011 and Aug 2012 compared to 3.2 per cent of male executives, and 7.4 per cent female directors compared to 3.1 per cent male directors. Overall, the number of women losing their jobs has almost doubled since last year's survey, according to the analysis by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The research reveals that the average male in an executive role earned a basic salary of £40,325 over the 12 months to August 2012, compared to £30,265 for a female in the same type of role. Although female junior executives earn marginally more (£363) than males at junior levels for the second year running (£21,491 compared to £21,128), the gender pay gap remains substantial as workers progress up the career ladder.

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, said: “A lot of businesses have been focused on getting more women on boards but we’ve still got a lot to do on equal pay and equal representation in top executive roles. Women make up almost three out of four at the bottom of the ladder but only one out of four at the top. This lack of a strong talent pipeline has to change, and fast. Allowing these types of gender inequalities to continue is precisely the kind of bad management that we need to stamp out. Companies are missing out on the full range of management potential at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to boost economic growth.”

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “Women's unemployment stands at a 24-year high and growing numbers of women have been forced into low paid, part-time and insecure employment - underemployment.

”Far from slowly moving forward, we now face going into reverse. If Government wants to avoid an unprecedented backwards step on its watch, they must take more action.

“The UK needs a dedicated women's employment strategy, and more must be done to enable the private sector to ensure a fair deal for women.

”Ensuring that basic employment rights are not branded as red tape and getting employers to undertake simple payroll checks so women don't lose out would also demonstrate real commitment to the millions of women being hit with a double whammy of unequal pay and frozen or shrinking salaries.“

Case study

Lorna Leonard, 45, finance director at Sovereign PLC, said: “Earlier in my career I found that I was being paid significantly less than my male counter parts. It was quite a lot of money – I was getting about 25 per cent less than a male colleague. I raised it with my line manager and it was sorted out immediately.

“On the whole we women are more likely to be satisfied with lower salaries and benefits and less likely to complain or argue for more. We do not do the personal sell as well as perhaps our male colleagues, from personal experience I know I underestimate my capabilities where I doubt there are too many men that could say the same.

“In finance it can be very difficult to compare salaries because no two roles are the same

“What I have seen a lot is situations where a guy is somehow valued more highly than a woman and therefore gets the opportunity to get roles that are more highly paid.

“Women are also more likely to require a more flexible approach to working hours - because they are working around a family or work three or four days a week – so they are penalised even though usually they are as, if not more, effective in these hours than their male counterparts.

“Historically it is hours at the desk rather than quality of output that is valued. I actually know a guy who would not leave the office until his boss had so that his boss would see his car in the car park as he left, the guy would play computer games whilst he waited and for this he got promoted.”

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