Women Struggle to Achieve Pay Equality at Firms

Sunday, April 22, 2012 Print Email

More than half of female accountants feel their gender holds them back at work, affecting their salary and promotional prospects. In comparison, just 12% of men feel their gender is a disadvantage, according to research by recruiter Marks Sattin.

According to the ONS Annual Survey of hours and earnings, female accountants earned an average salary of £32,080 last year, while men received £38,500, meaning women were paid on average 81% of the male average salary. In 2010, female accountants were paid £32,120, which represents just over three quarters (77%) of the average salary of £41,700 paid to men.

However, at the Big Four firms men continue to dominant the top jobs. Less than 14% of the European and UK boards of the Big Four are made up of women.

The findings indicate that a number of the major accountancy employers may struggle to meet Lord Davies’ recommendation that at least 25% of board positions in the FTSE 350 should be occupied by women by 2015. The CBI has reported 14.5% of board positions in the FTSE 100 are currently held by women, well short of Lord Davies’ voluntary target.

Dave Way, managing director of Marks Sattin said: ‘True gender equality can’t be achieved through pay parity alone. While employers in the accountancy industry are bringing in roughly equal numbers of men and women at graduate level, only a very small proportion of women seem to be able to reach the top.

‘One of the biggest drivers of the conspicuous absence of women in top positions is a sense of disenfranchisement among female employees from the tops of companies.

'The fact that so many more women than men consider themselves at a disadvantage in terms of career development is testament to this. It’s essential that women actively push themselves forward for senior roles and don’t allow the historical precedent to determine the future composition of board rooms.’

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