New research has discovered that women and men performing the same roles are paid almost the same. The Hay Group, a human resources company that conducted the study, examined workers from 33 separate countries and concluded that the pay difference between women employed at UK companies and men in comparable positions at a similar level was a negligible 0.8 per cent.
The report also revealed that the “glass ceiling” appears to be the main reason that men generate higher earnings than women.
Results from the study indicated that, in Europe, the pay difference between men and women performing the same functions was a relatively modest 1.6 per cent. But when it came to examining salaries generally between the sexes, the study demonstrated that men’s pay eclipsed that of women.
It discovered a difference of 28.6 per cent between women’s and men’s headline earnings in the UK – almost the worst in Europe. The Czech Republic held the top position for pay disparity, with men receiving 31.5 per cent in excess of women in comparable positions.
Ben Frost, an expert in the field of global rewards from the Hay Group, remarked that when it came to looking at pay related to gender, women and men at the same establishment both performing the same kind of role would usually receive a similar salary. The data showed this extremely consistently, even across countries as diverse as Sweden or South Africa.
Mr Frost concluded, however, that the study’s findings indicate that the difference in pay needed to be looked at differently. He said that the most significant contributor to the gap was the scarcity of women in the industries where the highest salaries were found, in leadership roles and in executive level positions. To have an impact on closing the discrepancy in earnings, it was women’s path to the most senior positions that needed to be addressed, he said.
The Hay Group’s study has provided further evidence that overall women are still paid less than men, in no small measure as a result of women occupying fewer senior positions and in the jobs with the most generous remuneration. In 2015 women occupied a relatively modest 23.2 per cent of board places at major British companies, according to the non-profit organisation European Women on Boards.
Last month the British actress and writer Emma Thompson declared that equality between the genders was very much overdue. The Academy Award winner added that she hoped to see the differences in pay for men and women eliminated in her lifetime, and lamented that despite “some good shifts”, much of the change she had hoped to see had not yet taken place.
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