31/08/2011

Women Still Falling Behind In Salary League

Equal pay between the genders in NI is in focus today with a leading businesswoman, Roseann Kelly of Women in Business NI commenting on the figures suggesting that there is still a significant gender pay gap.

"Unfortunately the existence of a gender pay gap is not a shock to Women in Business NI.

"The fact that Northern Ireland is the biggest offender is however very disappointing and this, coming on the back of the recent female unemployment figures - the worst since 1988, is very concerning," she said.

Ms Kelly, (pictured) was commenting after data released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) showed that the difference between the average female and male executive salaries in Northern Ireland is larger than any other nation or region in the UK.

Female executives are paid £25,580 on average while their male counterparts receive £39,373, revealing a gender pay gap of £13,793.

This compares to a smaller, whole-sample gender pay gap of £10,546 for the UK.

The next biggest gap in the nations and regions was £11,346, which was found in the Midlands, followed by London (£11,129). Wales has the most equal salaries, but even their male executives still receive £2,441 more than their female peers.

The 2011 National Management Salary data also shows that the average female executive salary in Northern Ireland is £16,937 less than the equivalent in London.

Outside London (average female executive salary of £42,517) and the South East (£33,427), where female salaries are unsurprisingly highest, women should look to the South West (£31,247) and Scotland (£30,652) for the best pay packets.

Looking at the average figures across the whole sample of 34,158 UK executives surveyed by XpertHR on behalf of CMI, equal pay for male and female executives across all seniority levels remains a long way off.

Across the UK, men continue to be paid more on average than women doing the same jobs (£42,441 compared to £31,895), revealing a UK-wide gender pay gap of £10,546.

This persistent gap means that, despite the fact that salaries for female UK executives as a whole are currently increasing faster than those of their male counterparts (female salaries increased by 2.4% during the 12 months between February 2010 to February 2011, a 0.3% higher rate of increase than for male salaries), if male and female salaries continued to increase at current rates, it would be 2109 - 98 years - before the average salary for female executives in the UK catches up with that of their male peers.

Ms Kelly of Women in Business NI continued: "There is a perception that women have it all now but as this report and the Lord Davies report on board positions show, this is not the case at all, the truth being that it will be decades before women gain equality in the business world.

"Again it will be left to the women to challenge these inequalities and they will risk being seen as trouble-makers or branded as 'extreme feminists'.

"More legislation to protect against this will again do more harm than good when it comes to employing women. It is the responsibility of Government, another area of low representation of women, to properly police gender pay inequalities, naming and shaming guilty parties.

"It should not be left to the victims to take cases against their employers," she insisted, adding that, on a positive note, this inequality within business has perhaps led to the growth in the number of women starting their own businesses and the rise in very successful female entrepreneurs - "a different approach to solving the pay gap," she concluded.

Responding to the report, CMI's Ireland Business Manager, Stanley Wallace, said: "This year's Salary Survey demonstrates, yet again, that businesses in Northern Ireland are contributing to the persistent gender pay gap and alienating top female employees by continuing to pay men and women unequally.

"This kind of bad management is damaging UK businesses and must be addressed," he insisted.

(BMcC/GK)

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