Why men are twice as likely as women to ask for a pay rise [new research]

05 May 2016 -


How much should you be paid for your job? While factors such as seniority, job role and skill-set would rightly play a part in your answer, unfortunately external considerations such as gender would too

Jermaine Haughton

Dependent upon which study you read, men are believed to earn around 17-18% more than women in the UK.

Despite women being 35% more likely to have an university education, and girls outperforming boys throughout the primary and secondary schooling systems in the UK, inequalities in pay, procedure and opportunities restricts similar career success for women.

Female managers in the UK still earn 22% less than their male counterparts and “work for free” for one hour and 40 minutes a day, or 57 working days a year, according to the Chartered Management Institute’s 2015 National Management Salary Survey. Based on the answers of 72,000 managers in the UK, the gender pay gap across management professions now stands at £8,524, with male earnings averaging £39,136 compared with £30, 612 for female managers.

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, lead author on the CMI Quality of Working Life report, said: “Both businesses and employees themselves need to take greater responsibility to narrow this unconscious gender bias and barriers to opportunity that may be preventing some women in finance from realising their true value.

“Women should be encouraged to give thought to whether they are being paid fairly for their contribution at work, and indeed whether they are keeping pace with their male counterparts.”

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)’s latest study suggests working women are, partly, being paid less because they are less keen to pursue and negotiate a better salary with their existing employer.

Over one in four men working in finance (26%) had asked for a pay rise in the last year compared to less than one in five women (18%).

Conversely, three in five women (61%) have never asked for a pay rise, true of just over half of men working in the sector (54%). Moreover, nearly half of men surveyed (47%) had received a pay rise during the last year, compared to 40% of women.

Confidence, and arguably privilege, plays a significant role in how much people value themselves, with the AAT research paper showing a stark contrast in this regard between the sexes.

The average male surveyed felt their current pay was £11,963.51 per year less than what they feel they are worth, with one in 15 men (6.5%) believing they should be paid at least £40,000 more on an annual basis.

By contrast, the average female felt they should be earning £6,854.43 more, with just 1% feeling that their salary was at least £40,000 short.

This is despite the average full-time male worker surveyed already earning around 18% more than women (£27,189 and £23,000, respectively).

Unfortunately, the confidence gap between the men and women regarding their perception of how much they should be getting paid widens throughout their careers.

The Hired report found that women with less than two years of experience tend to ask for 2% more than their male counterparts, while women with more than four years of experience ask for 5% less than men.

Pay Transparency

From not wanting to seem rude, to a fear of jeopardising their current job to concerns about attracting negative criticism from bosses; these are just a few of the reasons why women are reportedly less likely request a salary increase as often as men.

Katie Donovan, founder of Equal Pay Negotiations, an organisation which runs talks, workshops and online seminars to teach women the basics of negotiation, has explained that the lack of bullishness goes back much further than just how women are conditioned to behave in the workplace.

"You have to remember that women are newer to the workplace," said Donovan. "Sure, we've been secretaries, teachers, and nurses forever, but in terms of executive positions that require negotiating a salary, we're on relatively new ground.

“In my own life, my father taught my brother to negotiate, but my mother taught me to how to wear lipstick. Many of us did not have role models giving us the inside scoop.”

Transparency is also a big issue, with many employees not knowing what type of salary they should be receiving.

One solution that has been offered is to take away the mystery and confusion, by forcing big companies to publish what they are paying their male and female workers.

Some 67% of women surveyed - from Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States - said they wish they had a better understanding of what a fair salary is for their position and skill set, Glassdoor reported.

Aimed at creating pressure on employers to pay women fairer wages, the UK government is set to introduce new rules forcing companies with more than 250 workers to publish clear employee payroll data and disclose the pay gap in their workplaces

Mark Bull, chief executive of recruitment firm Randstad Middle East and UK believes the new government proposals will help redress the gender pay discrepancy, warns that companies must be proactive in creating a workplace culture that makes women feel comfortable in directing and achieving their career goals.

“A company which has a poor reputation, deserved or not, about how it treats its female employees is automatically cutting its talent pool in half,” Bull said. “HR managers need to show employees are treated equally regardless of gender, not just during the recruitment process, but in the everyday running of the business. If they don’t do this, they will find they have less candidates of a high calibre to choose from because those candidates will automatically gravitate towards companies with better reputations.

“Long term this can affect a company’s productivity and ultimately their bottom line if they are having to spend more on recruiting because their employer reputation is poor and, therefore, staff turnover is high.”

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