Women will have to wait 57 years for equal pay

Another survey has shown equal pay is still a long way off. Surprise, surprise...

Last Updated: 02 Nov 2010

If you’re a hard-working woman with high hopes for your daughters, forget it. Or, at least, that's what the Chartered Management Institute thinks: its new report suggests that at the rate we’re going, female managers are going to have to wait until the year 2067 before they get paid as much as their male counterparts. The survey found that while the salaries of female managers have risen by 2.8% in the last year, compared to men's 2.3% rise, they still earn an average of £10,031 less. Given it’s now four decades since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act, the fact that we've only managed to narrow the pay gap from 34% to 24% isn't terribly impressive, is it?
Of the 43,000 managers in 197 organisations who took part in the survey, women were paid an average of 24% less than their male counterparts. Even at junior management level, men were getting paid £1,000 more than women in the same roles. At the top level, there’s also a discrepancy: 7.7% of female directors have ‘voluntarily’ left their post (/got fed-up at pay disparities) over the last year, compared to just 3.6% of men.
Still, things at least look more hopeful for women in the North East, which has the smallest average pay gap - just £8,955 (whereas in the Midlands, for example, it's £10,434). Wey-aye man. The IT and pharmaceutical industries are also minefields for women, with pay gaps of £18,000 and £14,000 respectively. That’s no small change.
Before any bra-burning commences, though, we should add all the usual caveats for this kind of story. The statistics are obviously skewed to some extent by women taking time out from their career track to have children. And because mothers often shoulder the bulk of the childcare burden – by going part-time, in some cases – they may be more likely to put in fewer hours than their male colleagues, which won't help their chances of promotion. Admittedly it seems hard to believe that this alone accounts for a pay gap of this size. But it could mean the issue isn’t (quite) as bad as these figures suggest.
On the bright side, there has been one positive recent development: various surveys have suggested that men are increasingly taking a larger share of the childcare responsibility - which should give women more freedom to go to work (if they want to). If this trend continues, it might not be a 57-year wait after all.  

In today's bulletin:
High street bounces back in July - and borrowing falls
GM outlines big risks in $20bn IPO plan
Women will have to wait 57 years for equal pay
Graduates and school leavers in danger of being left behind?
Bangers and cash: Lincolnshire levies sausage tax

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