Given we’ve hit the targets put forth by the Davies Review, it feels like we have begun to make serious headway against the gender pay gap. But it seems its still far too soon to begin patting ourselves on the back: the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has laid down the gauntlet at the recent women and equalities select committee, quoting data that has shown that, despite recent progress, the glass ceiling is more pernicious than ever for women over 40.
Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, put forth data from this year’s National Management Salary Survey that shows female managers aged between 46 and 60 are currently paid on average 35% less than their male counterparts. Not only is this 13% higher than the national average of 22% but it also means that female managers in this age bracket are working for 681 hours a year unpaid. And the problem only becomes worse the older female managers get, with the gender pay gap hitting 38% for those over 60.
The CMI also put forward potential reasons for the wage gap becoming a chasm as female execs age. Whilst it posited that traditional discrimination and the presence of an ‘old-boys’ network’ are still a factor, it also maintained that unconscious discrimination is a more widespread problem and could even be more damaging. An example it gave was that of mothers returning to work being encouraged to take up part-time or less challenging roles by well-intentioned superiors that don’t understand the ramifications this could have on their earning potential.
“Anyone who believes hitting the Davies’ targets abolished the glass ceiling is misguided,” said Francke. “Equality and fair progression means much more than having the same number of men and women on your board. Female managers face what I believe is more of a ‘glass pyramid’ than a ceiling. The walls close in with every step up and you’re likely to slip down the pecking order when it comes to pay.”
Evidently there is a lot more work ahead of us before we can permanently close the gender pay gap.