The imbalance of payments

Much pay-related uproar this week. First we heard that City bonuses had soared 30% to £14bn at a time when much of the country is struggling with unprecedented levels of debt and bankruptcy. Now comes the revelation that executive pay has shot up by 37% on last year – but that women’s pay still lags miles behind men’s, even at the top. The apparent if unhelpful lesson: be a man in charge.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

The surge in executive pay is more than 11 times the increase in average earnings and nearly 20 times the rate of inflation. But it’s clearly not getting doled out evenly. Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of Pearson, was the highest paid female last year, earning £2.1m. That may be a pretty tidy package for most of us, but it’s still 25% below the average for her FTSE-100 colleagues, of almost £2.9m. Dorothy Thompson, boss of Drax, meanwhile, earned a mere £731,800.

All of which illustrates what we, and many others, have been saying for ages now – something needs to be done about such anachronistic inequality if we are to encourage women to pursue high-flying careers. There were 16 women executives at the top level last year – still only a tiny fraction of a total of 527. Introducing more incentives such as flexible working would probably help, as would the simple and surely long overdue move of rewarding people for the job they do. Right, rant over. 

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