The ten European countries with the largest gender pay gaps

Most major European countries rise well above the average when it comes to the level of gender wage disparity, new research reveals, and the UK is a key player guilty of a pay gap

The ten European countries with the largest gender pay gaps

Hot off the heels of the inaugural gender pay gap reporting results being revealed on Thursday 5 April, the pay of men and women has never been clearer. And while only firms with 250 employees or more need to declare figures publicly, even smaller startups must sit up and take note of the uneven staff treatment impossible not to see. Now, a new global analysis has the UK standing as one of Europe’s most imbalanced major economies when it comes to equal wages.

Analysing 14,300 global companies in its gender pay index, Korn Ferry, the executive search and recruiting firm, was able to reveal an overall male-favoured pay gap of 23.8% in the UK. Staggeringly, this puts it leagues above many other major European economies, with Italy standing at 17.4%, Germany at 16.8% and France at 14.1%. However, such an image isn’t just confined to the continent, with the US also appearing below the UK at 17.6%, India at 16.1% and China at 12.7%.

Despite overall figures, the story changes when looking at those occupying the same job level within the same company, where the UK shows a 2.6% pay gap. In perspective, this puts it below Italy at 3.4%, Germany at 3.2% and France at 3%. Moreover, when male and female employees also work in the same function the gap tightens further to just 1.3%, giving the UK the second smallest gap out of the major European economies.

Commenting on the findings, Ben Frost, vice president of reward products at Korn Ferry, said: “The much-publicised pay gap between men and women is real, but it is predominantly caused by fewer women than men in higher-paying roles. The disparity in earnings can be remedied if businesses strive to increase the percentage of women in highly-paid jobs, including the most senior roles and functions such as engineering and other technical disciplines.”

However, while the overall global average of the gender pay gap remains at 16.1%, there is still a long way to go, even for many nations performing better than the UK. 

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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