Now reporting is mandatory, we know a lot about the gender pay gap in companies with more than 250 employees. Opening up the issue to wider scrutiny has seen some shocking statistics, including the revelation that 8 in 10 of the UK’s large firms are paying men more than women in terms of median wages. However, what the gender pay gap data doesn’t tell us is the difference in pay men and women are facing who do the same jobs.
Comparing Apples with Apples…
The gender pay gap data take into account the pay of all employees at a company, so in effect compares secretaries and cleaners – who remain largely women – with CEOs, who remain largely men. There’s a disappointing lack of senior women in roles across swathes of the British economy.
To get a better idea of the gender pay gap among people working in the same job, Drewberry has dug back through its archive of data to examine men and women applying for Income Protection over the past year. Income Protection is an insurance policy that promises to pay a proportion of your salary if you’re out of work due to accident or sickness. To apply, you’ll need to provide your job role and your salary.
This allows us to filter male and female applicants for cover based on their salaries and, where there are enough data, compare salaries for men and women in the same job roles.
Same Shift, Different Pay
By far the biggest gap was among marketing managers. The average male marketing manager was paid 35.2% more, at £61,769, than the average female marketing manager, who earned £40,033. This was followed by the pay gap for accountants, where there was a 27.4% pay differential (female accountants earned £49,362 per year on average compared to £67,980 for men).
Even among professions traditionally seen as dominated by women, such as teaching and nursing, there was a 16.2% pay gap and a 4.5% pay gap, respectively.
The most equal job in the list was solicitors, with a pay differential of just 0.8%. Even here men earned more, at £66,277 compared to £65,743 for women.
Why the Gap?
There are a number of reasons for the gender pay gap, even when comparing solicitors with solicitors and dentists with dentists. One is a difference in working patterns, with more women working in part-time roles.
Women also take a hit to their earning capacity through maternity leave and being their children’s primary caregiver, which is still the case in the majority of households. It’s a key reason women return to work part-time, or simply apply for part-time jobs in the first place. It’s also a reason why women – still, in 2018 – get passed over for promotions and so don’t reach the same seniority as their male colleagues with an accompanying paygrade to match.
Psychology plays a part, too. A survey by GlassDoor found that women appeared to be less assertive in the workplace, being 16 percentage points less likely to negotiate a salary they were offered when starting a new job than men. 68% of women accepted the first salary they were offered when being awarded a new job compared with only just over half (52%) of men.
However, a study from the Cass Business School and the Universities of Warwick and Wisconsin found that women and men are now equally likely to ask for pay rises, which would put the idea of a lack of assertiveness in the shade. Despite this, women get worse outcomes when they do ask for pay rises. The study found that when like-for-like male and female workers were compared, men were 25% more likely to get a pay rise when they asked.
Fortunately, things may be changing. The study also found that, in workers under 40, women and men both asked for and received pay rises at the same rate. This is good news for the future but, with such wide disparity in pay in certain jobs, the gender pay gap could take some time to close yet.