The gender pay gap is real and is especially stark at director and boardroom level.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap across Britain is 15.5% for all employees, down from 17.4% in 2019.
But research by the New Street Consulting Group (NSCG) has found that female board members in FTSE 100 companies are being paid 40% less than their male counterparts.
While women on FTSE 100 boards took home £104,800 on average for non-executive roles, men took home £170,400. The gap was even starker for executive board members with women taking £1.5 million and men taking £2.5 million on average.
In addition, the research found that FTSE 100 female directors were paid just over a quarter of what their male counterparts are paid. While women earn £237,000, this is only 73% of the £875,900 male directors are taking home on average.
Talking about the findings, Claire Carter, a director at NSCG, told the Financial Times that while “great progress has been made in bringing more women on to boards”, clearly this data suggested there is more work to be done.
“Focusing solely on the percentages of directors that are women is not enough when trying to approach equality,” she added.
What explains this pay gap? The vast majority of female directors and board members do not hold executive jobs, and it is these jobs that come with the high salaries.
Carter continued to the Guardian by saying that most businesses want to end the “old boys club that exists at the top”.
“The key to doing that will be ensuring that women have more executive responsibilities and are trained and prepared properly for taking on that responsibility. It will be a case of their examining whether there are any barriers that are preventing females from reaching the very top at their organization.”
“The fact is that unconscious bias remains, and organizations must tackle diversity and equality issues by supporting staff with training.
“HR must work more closely with executive teams to address equal and fair pay to stamp out social injustice.
“Pay equality responsibility does not just lie with HR; it requires support from everyone in the organization in order to be addressed.
“So, more executives need to step up and become an ally for their female colleagues.
“If they are aware of injustice, then they need to speak up and support their female colleagues to get paid what they deserve.”
These damning equal pay gap figures come on the back of other research that found that the pandemic has actually pushed the achievement of gender parity on FTSE 350 boards back by four years until 2036.
The Pipeline’s Women Count 2021 report stated: “The data in Women Count 2021 reveals that FTSE 350 companies have not used the pandemic as a transformative moment for their businesses, instead there has been a reversion to type with companies continuing to fail women.”
In addition, 10% of FTSE 350 companies still have all male boards and only 4% of boards have reached gender parity on their executive committee.
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