As of 2020, women in the UK earn 85p for every £1 a man earns1. 15p may seem an insignificant sum, however this difference is not just as simple as an employer pays their male employees more than their female peers.
One of the biggest instigators causing the gender pay gap is that there is a disproportional lack of women in senior roles.
“To be accepted as leaders, women often must walk a fine line between two opposing sets of expectations.” Shawn Andrews, professor at the University of California School of Business. 2
Women currently hold 34.5% of board positions within the FSTE 100 companies3 (the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation). Explanations for this often lead to the same conclusion; gender stereotyping results in opposition towards women’s leadership. A study by McKinsey (2016) found that women who negotiated for promotions or pay rises were 30% more likely to be described as “bossy”, “too aggressive” and “intimidating” than the men who negotiated4. These labels are significant as that they appear differently depending on the gender of the person you are referring to. Women who are bossy are the equivalent to assertive men, a man who speaks with intensity is described as passionate whereas his female counterpart is described as aggressive.
Often, to avoid these labels, women must downplay their certainty in the language they use. Using undermining phrases such as “I just”, “I have a little query”, or qualifiers like “I’m no expert but”, using this type of language puts women at a similar disadvantage as it infers they lack self-confidence, a trait that is vital for senior roles.
Furthermore, jobs that were once stereotypically feminine such as nursing, teaching, and ‘domestic’ careers offer lower standard rates. This stems from historically women being denied jobs in many industries and this gave them few options when choosing careers.
Industries which are still very male dominated are thought to be so due to:
- An unwelcoming male culture or more commonly known as the boy’s club mentality
- Lack of female role models within these industries
- Sexism within education that discourages women and girls from taking an interest in masculine careers
A way in which society is actively combating this issue is by encouraging women to enter what were once stereotypically masculine jobs. One of the biggest supporters of this movement is STEM Women. With women currently making up 28%5 of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) workforce.
Closing the wage gap is not as simple as paying men and women the same wage for the same job, although this should be standard. The gap cannot be closed until women and men are offered the same recruitment and career progression opportunities which cannot be swayed by gender biases. Job sectors are becoming more inclusive of diversity however, action still needs to be taken against the gender discrimination which remains prevalent for many women in the workplace.
Our gender pay gap report shows that 60% of the highest earners on our payroll are women, with our female employees earning £1.27 for every £1 their male counterparts earn6. Hence here at Exceed, we are proving that the gender pay gap can be closed, if not reversed, and we hope more companies will follow suit.
To view our gender pay gap report follow the link to https://exceedoutsourcing.co.uk/gender-pay-gap-report/