Same role, big difference: how real is the gender pay gap?


Thanks to the ongoing  gender pay gap debate, it’s no secret that many women are paid less than their male counterparts, but, while looking at the CVs of the candidates registered with us, we noticed another worrying trend:  women’s salary expectations are significantly lower than men’s.

We analysed over 6,000 CVs and found a 25% difference between the salaries expected by male and female non-executive directors (NEDs); male NEDs on average are looking for an annual salary of £106,935 whereas women going for the same NED roles expect £83,125.  For finance or CFO roles, the difference between salary expectations is 14.5% and for senior customer service roles it is 22%.

The differences are less marked for MDs/CEOs (2.5%), senior change managers (7.5%), facilities managers (3%) and marketing directors (3%), but there’s a gap all the same, and every time it is in favour of men.

What is really concerning about these figures is that they are based on the salary expectations set by the candidates themselves.  When gender pay gap statistics were made public for the first time earlier this year many argued that the major factor behind the disparity was that there are more men than women in senior positions; the challenge was simply to help more women reach the top.  However, our research suggests that even when women get into senior roles a major pay gap can still prevail.

It’s fair to assume that the senior executives we studied are basing their salary expectations on their most recent roles. If that’s the case, then what appears to be happening is that women somehow find themselves on a career trajectory which culminates in them being on a pay scale which is out of kilter by the time they reach a senior level. This needs to be addressed.

In our free-to-download report Women, Pay & Progress – Closing the Gender Pay Gap, we asked ten very successful, high earning women to share the secrets of their career success, help other women get ahead and drive to eradicate the gender pay imbalance.

Click here to read the report