Lack of promotions is driving widening gender pay gap

26 September 2017 -

Unequal PayNew CMI/XpertHR research reveals that women make up two-thirds of junior management positions, but that figure plummets in director-level roles

Matt Scott

Women are suffering from a lack of promotion opportunities, with men occupying the overwhelming majority of senior management positions. That’s the findings of the Gender Salary Survey 2017 from CMI and XpertHR.

The research found that women are far more likely to fill junior management positions than men, with 66% of junior management positions filled by women. But this figure drops to just 26% for director-level roles, meaning that almost three-quarters of all director-level positions are filled by men.

Yesterday, we revealed that the gender pay gap has risen to 26.8%, with male managers on average out-earning female peers by £11,606 a year, up from 23.1%, or £8,964, last year.

And even for those women who do progress to more senior roles, the pay gap begins to widen considerably, rising to £34,144, with men earning an average of £175,673 and women £141,529.

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XpertHR content director Mark Crail said: “We have always known that the gender pay gap appears to widen with seniority. But these results enable us to quantify the gap using a large volume of reliable, checked and verified pay data, drawn directly from employer payroll systems.

“Some people have tried to explain the gender pay gap away as being the result of different working hours or individual career choices. But when the analysis is based on the pay of more than 100,000 individuals in well over 400 organisations, it is clear that the pay gap is a very real fact of life for UK managers.”

Bonus payments are also exacerbating the problem, with the gender bonus gap across all managers standing at 46.9%. This increases considerably at C-suite level, where the average bonus for a male CEO is £89,230 compared to £14,945 for a woman – an 83% pay gap.

CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “Too many businesses are like ‘glass pyramids’ with women holding the majority of lower-paid junior roles and far fewer reaching the top. We now see those extra perks of senior management roles are creating a gender pay gap wider than previously understood.

“The picture is worst at the top, with male CEOs cashing-in bonuses six times larger than female counterparts.”

Ann Francke: How you can break the ‘glass pyramid’


CMI is all about developing and enabling brilliant leaders; giving them the management skills they need to fulfill their own potential and unlock the potential of others.

At the heart of this commitment is a belief that diversity is the foundation for good leadership and management as it improves financials, creates a better culture and ensures less risky decision making.

That's why we've launched CMI Women. We want organisations to embrace gender diversity and put it at the heart of their agenda and business practice.

To find out how you can help contribute to achieving our aim and improving diversity in your organisation, click here

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