Salaries for women in resilience and governance defy national averages

First published September 2014

Reports are published almost daily about the gender pay gap. In 2013, women in the UK earned 19.7% less than men doing the same job. While in professional occupations, the pay gap is smaller (around 9%), at a senior level, the gender pay gap has not really decreased since 2005. Senior women earn 20.2% less than men in a similar role. When examining the salaries for women in governance and resilience, BeecherMadden expected to see a similar trend.

Surprisingly, salaries for women in the resilience and governance industries buck the trend of women being paid less. Comparing recent appointments in the past year, women have been paid up to 30% more. This is for roles where men with comparable experience, have been appointed at a similar time, entering similar organisations. BeecherMadden also found several examples of women with less experience in their role than men, who were earning around 10% more, for a similar role. The difference is most notable for those going into their second jobs; candidates who have 3 – 5 years experience are the most in demand and show the biggest pay difference. At senior levels, the experience gap closes when looking at comparable commercial experience.

So why are women being paid more than men? Is it as simple as supply and demand? Women are significantly under-represented in the governance and resilience industry. At all salary levels, women make up only around 15% of the industry. For those earning over £150,000 a year, where the gap should be greatest, women are still represented at the 15% mark. We see slightly more women in compliance roles than general resilience but the number does not deviate significantly. Many companies who are hiring into these teams, are aware that women are under-represented and are keen to address that balance. Where women are entering roles that sit in IT departments, companies are especially keen to hire well qualified women and women with IT or science degrees can be in demand.

Supply and demand can only go so far as an explanation. It may explain why women are getting job offers, but does not fully explain why they are being paid so much more than their male counterparts. BeecherMadden director Karla Jobling says “women are not just hired to make up a quota. That suggestion belittles the achievements of the very successful women who are in this sector. Women often bring additional skills to these roles, demonstrating good sales ability or leadership skills. These soft skills are not obvious from a CV and cannot be gained by having more years experience. Women in this sector are often strong networkers and we see a greater percentage of female candidates who talk about the groups, societies and fellowships they belong to. Women discuss their activities outside of work more readily than male candidates, especially those early in their careers.”

So given that women have reversed the gender pay gap in governance and resilience, it would be nice to think that more women may choose to enter the industry. However, the amount of women in STEM jobs has been falling since the 1980’s. In the 1980’s women made up 38% of the industry. In 2004 it was just 19% and in 2009, 16%. With women not choosing to enter male dominated sectors, governance and resilience may also have to wait for the amount of women in the sector to increase. Hopefully increased coverage of successful women in the sector, will encourage more women to apply for jobs; and encourage those already in the industry to apply for more promotions. With successful female leaders, we may be able to balance the teams and departments.

BeecherMadden are running a series of articles and interviews, looking at women in governance and resilience. For more information on taking part, or to discuss recruitment activity, please contact:

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