http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jul2009/gb20090730_802133.htm

Technology

Female Pay Inequality Persists in U.K.


Progress on gender pay equality in the UK has stalled, says the government's Women and Work Commission (WWC) but senior female tech workers at least have reason to smile, according to new research.

Women in the UK are now paid on average 22.6 per cent less than men, according to the WWC, which yesterday published its final report into progress on pay, three years on from its original recommendations.

Writing in the report, Baroness Prosser of Battersea, chair of the Commission, said: "Not only do we need to see more action being taken to kick start the slow movement of the gender pay gap but also to ensure that we do not let the economic downturn reverse the positive progress that has been made."

However wage and age gap figures released by executive jobs website Experteer show IT is the most female-friendly sector when it comes to pay and promotion—with women paid two per cent more than men, and progressing to top roles a year younger than their male counterparts. However, the vast majority of senior execs in IT are male.

This contrasts starkly with female fortunes in the media sector—the worst inequality offender—where women execs are paid a third less (34 per cent) than men, despite reaching top roles three years earlier, according to the research.

Other industries with significant pay disparity between the male and female execs include medicine (27 per cent less); transport and tourism (17 per cent less); finance (13 per cent less); and the public sector (11 per cent less).

Across all exec roles the UK gender pay gap average is seven per cent, the research found—which does at least compare favourably with other Western European markets where the overall average pay gap is 12 per in favour of male execs.

And while across all sectors female executives can expect to hold senior roles at an earlier age than their male peers—between three and four years younger—they will only be paid on a par with men in their first exec post.

Other findings from the research includes female execs in the public sector are two to three years younger but paid £10k less per year than men; female managers in retail are five years younger but paid £7.5k less; female senior managers in finance are two years younger but paid close to £9.5k less; and female IT specialists are five years younger but paid £6k less.

Results from last year's silicon.com Skills Survey found female IT workers were less likely to be pocketing the biggest salaries and more likely to be on the lowest rung of the wage ladder.

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