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News: Gender bias alive and well, survey finds

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The average gender pay gap for UK executives stands at £10,060, with women also receiving less than half of what men are awarded in bonuses, according to the findings of the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) latest annual Gender Salary Survey.

Despite government pledges to address inequalities between the sexes, the gender pay gap across the UK is alive and well with the average female executive suffering a lifetime earnings gap of £423,390 when compared to a male worker with an identical career path.

The figure is based on analysis by the CMI at salary and labour turnover data for 38,843 people in executive roles in the UK collected by XpertHR.

This year’s survey also reveals that the gender pay gap extends to annual rewards. Across the 91 participating employers providing data on the payment of bonuses, women receive less than half what men are awarded in monetary terms – the average bonus for a male executive was £7,496, compared to £3,726 for a female executive.

This picture gets worse as women and men progress in their careers with 50% of males at director level receiving bonuses compared to 36% of females. At £65,000, the average bonus paid to a male director was £7,000 more than that awarded to a female director.

The study also adds clout to the idea of a glass ceiling for women in business; while women now represent 57% of the executive workforce, a much smaller percentage have made it into top roles – just 40% of department heads are female and only one in four chief executives (24%).

Ann Francke, CMI Chief Executive, said while many businesses had focused on getting more women on boards, there was still much work to be done on addressing 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. Allowing these types of gender inequalities to continue is precisely the kind of bad management that we need to stamp out.”

She called on Government to demand more transparency from companies on pay and a name and shame approach to those that perpetuate inequality. She also urged the Coalition to forge ahead with plans to reform parental leave, which Francke said would remove one of the barriers that make it impractical for women to play a greater a part in the workforce. But legislation wasn’t enough on its own, Francke warned.

“Employers need to take action to change corporate cultures. Development opportunities such as mentoring and qualifications have been proven to be highly successful in helping women build the confidence and skills needed to realise their potential,” Francke said.

The labour turnover data also shows that more women than men fell foul of job cuts in the 12 month period between August 2011 and August 2012 – 4.3% of female executives were made redundant, almost twice as many as in the previous year, compared to 3.2% of male executives. This difference grows as women move up the ranks – twice as many female directors were made redundant compared to male directors (7.4% compared to 3.1%).

Baroness Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The gender pay and opportunities gaps are intrinsically linked. The opportunities gap leads to the lack of advance for women through the executive pipeline and this in turn provides for the gender pay gap.”

Penny de Valk, CEO of career management consultancy, Fairplace, said part of the problem was that too high a value was still being placed on stereotyped, typically masculine leadership characteristics. “As a result many women are throttling back their ambitions because they have self-limited beliefs about both their capability and the opportunities open to them. We need more female role models in top positions as well as better mentoring and coaching practices to nurture and fuel female ambitions and help challenge the gender biased culture in our workplaces.”

Meanwhile Business in the Community (BITC) has published the results of the UK’s biggest race and gender benchmarking survey highlighting the Top 10 best performing private and public sector organisations in race and gender progression.

In total, 67 public and private sector organisations submitted comprehensive workforce metrics and case studies across 30 key areas, including, career progression, recruitment, supplier diversity, and senior management and board representation.

Helen Wells, director of Opportunity Now, the BITC campaign for gender equality in the workplace, said: “Inclusion in the Top 10 Benchmarking Survey lists is absolutely the diversity standard all organisations will aspire to attain.”

Top 10 private sector organisations for gender (not ranked)

• BT plc
• Citi
• Enterprise Rent-A-Car
• Ernst & Young
• Eversheds LLP
• KPMG LLP
• National Grid
• Nationwide Building Society
• PwC
• The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Top 10 public sector organisations for gender (not ranked)

• British Army
• Civil Nuclear Constabulary
• Crown Prosecution Service
• Genesis
• HM Revenue & Customs
• Home Office
• Leicestershire Police
• Ministry of Justice
• Ofcom
• Royal Navy

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