US and UK Professionals

Women and the Wage Gap – Getting Down to the Facts

It’s no news that women earn less than men, but most of the information out there about the gender wage gap is pretty general. We wanted to know how salaries stack up for high-earning, professional women in the UK compared to those of the men.

Level Differences

We dug deep and looked at the wage gap among women managers at different levels and in various leading industries. Using Experteer salary data from thousands of male and female job seekers across the UK, we found that on average men out-earn women at every level by just over eight percent.

For instance, male project managers have an average annual salary of £63,947 compared to that of women at £59,199 – a difference of 7.7 percent. The narrowest gap is at the Manager/Team Leader level. There, men earn 6.8 percent more than women.

The biggest gap, though, is at the top. Male CEOs earn on average 11 percent more than female leaders, or £115,811 compared to £103,680.

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Industry Inequality

The industry matters too when it comes to salary differences between the sexes. Women working in IT, financial services and consulting earn considerably less than their male counterparts. In financial services, for instance, the gap amounts to an average annual salary difference of £15,510!

The smallest gaps – where women tend to earn closer to what men earn — are in retail, scientific research and the public sector.

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Why the Wage Gap

 Why women make less than men, often for the same work, is a complex story. For one thing, women still bear the lion’s share of responsibility for caring for family members (e.g., children and aging parents). For this reason, women tend to work less and prioritize jobs that allow more schedule flexibility over those with higher salaries.

Also, women have historically migrated into career fields with lower average salaries. Areas like tourism, health care and education, are still dominated by women whereas higher-paying fields like IT, finance and engineering still employ considerably more men.

For women, earning less during the working years means that their retirement income suffers. On average, women contribute less than half of the amount to their pensions than men do.

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Closing the Divide

There’s a little good news here. The wage gap is narrowing. Ever so slowly.

Luckily, there are a number of initiatives underway to speed up the process to even up salaries between professional men and women. For instance, programs to mentor women for leadership roles and to motivate girls and younger female professionals to pursue STEM careers can, over time, help boost their average wages.

And more companies are offering flexible work arrangements — like work-from-home schemes, part-time options and longer parental leave — that help women stay in the workforce longer and keep their careers (and salaries) moving upward.

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Kate RodriguezKate Rodriguez is a freelance marketing copywriter based in Munich. She has over 20 years of professional experience in public and private organizations. A former international trade analyst for the U.S. government, she also worked as a university career coach, specializing in international career search. Most recently, she was employed at Experteer as a customer service agent and online marketing manager.


'Women and the Wage Gap – Getting Down to the Facts' have 9 comments

  1. February 7, 2017 @ 8:25 pm Alex W

    Are the ‘averages’ quoted here means or medians? This should be clearly stated – it can make a big difference when looking at skewed distributions such as salary. It’s always a shame when an otherwise good study fails to make such a basic distinction.

    Anyway, I think you’ve missed one of the biggest routes to closing the gap, and that’s equalisation (or at least moving closer to equalisation) of parental leave, rather than the mother having the vast majority of it. Not only would this mean that men take the same sort of career pause as women, it’d also help to finally break down the old stereotype of the woman’s role in the family being at home while the man earns the money.

    Reply

    • April 4, 2017 @ 8:35 pm Clare

      That isn’t the reason why women get upto 12 months maternity (in UK). The reason is some women need that amount of time to recuperate from childbirth. Experts say it can take a woman’s body a year (some even state 2, but even if think this is excessive.) To fully recover (hormones back in whack etc.) It is of course upto the mother when she returns and yes, fathers should have more paternity leave, however not at the expense of maternity if the mother needs it.

      Reply

  2. February 8, 2017 @ 11:14 pm Fave

    You say “Why women make less than men, often for the work…” and then go on to say “For this reason, women tend to work less…”

    So they might be doing the same work, but are they doing the same job? Put another way, are the above annual salaries pro rated at all, especially to take into account unpaid over time?

    Reply

  3. February 13, 2017 @ 11:31 pm Ron W

    Discussing equal pay without considering equality of taxes paid or equality of State benefits & healthcare consumed is very disingenuous.

    Reply

  4. February 21, 2017 @ 1:53 am cureholder

    Unless you are controlling for education, field, and time on job, the statistic is absolutely meaningless. If you don’t control for those for those factors, you cannot legitimately say and difference is because of gender, as you’ve left other variables in place that could explain it. And, when those variables are controlled for, surprise, there is no wage gap (and what remains actually favors women). This is simple research, and anyone not doing it properly (such as the ones cited here) are either incompetent or dishonest.

    Reply

    • March 11, 2017 @ 12:48 pm Robin

      But the end result still works out against them. All you could find be looking into those factors is what needs changing to level the playing field.

      Reply

      • April 16, 2017 @ 5:05 am cureholder

        No, when those factors are controlled for, the gap disappears (or even begins to slightly favor women). That’s the point — women are not making less simply because they’re women. The “gap” is explained by education, field, and time on the job, which is why it disappears when you control for those things. This is basic statistical analysis.

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  5. April 13, 2017 @ 1:27 am Darrell Hargan

    I work in the factory automation industry. My job is highly skilled and physically demanding. The environment is hot or cold depending on the season and is very dirty. Yes, I make more than my wife that works in a cozy, climate controlled office from 9 to 5 and gets all banking holidays off. This is the way it should be.

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    • May 2, 2017 @ 8:18 pm Becky

      Not all women work in cozy, clean jobs. I am a nurse. This required a formal education that I juggled with a job and raising children. It requires continuing education credits to keep renewing my license. I am exposed to feces, vomit, urine, sputum, MRSA, blood, violence, etc. While I feel the topic of the post is more complicated than just wage differences due to gender, your response was not enlightening at all. It seemed you think that women work cushy jobs.

      Reply


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