Women in the Workplace : Pay, Perceptions and Opportunities


In April 2019, Emolument partnered with executive search and advisory firm Wessex Partners on a global survey called ‘Women @ Work: are things really changing?’. 430 female professionals gave their insights on the gender pay gap within their company and industry, and on how being a woman has affected their career.

 Below are the most noteworthy findings of the study, including answers to the following questions: 

  • Are you paid the same as your male colleagues for doing the same work ?
  • Is your company's public stance on gender equality reflected in your work environment?
  • Do you think your company could potentially name a woman as its CEO within the next 5 years?
  • After taking a maternity leave, would you or did you go back to work in the same industry?


Are you paid the same as your male colleagues for doing the same work ?

Results by Industry

Industry Gender pay gap % Who answered 'No'
Law Practice 38% 73%
Financial Services 30% 61%
Insurance 27% 55%
Consumer Goods 22% 47%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotech 21% 65%
Consulting & Professional Services 21% 48%
Retail 20% 65%
Technology & Telecoms 20% 59%
Manufacturing & Industrials 19% 47%
Public Sector 19% 29%
Construction & Real Estate 15% 52%
Energy, Mining, Chemicals 14% 33%
Media & Communication 13% 63%
Charity & Not For Profit 6% 41%
  • Perceptions are true to reality: There is a significant correlation between the actual gender pay gap and perceived gender inequalities (a 0.54 correlation coefficient across the sectors in the above chart). Most industries in which the gender pay gap is the highest are also the ones in which most women are aware that they are paid less than men (law practice, financial services).
  • A high salary won’t mask the gender pay gap: There is very little correlation between the amount of money women receive and their gender gap perception. This is particularly visible in financial services, where women receive higher paychecks than in other industries but where 61% of them still think, with reason, that they are being paid less than male professionals doing the same work.


Is your company's public stance on gender equality reflected in your work environment?

Results by Years of Experience

 
Years of Experience % who answered 'Yes'
0-4 45%
5-9 32%
10-14 31%
15+ 33%
  • The more experienced, the more cynical: The more time women spend in a corporate environment, the more cynical they become about their company’s stance on gender equality – 45% of female employees with less than 4 years of experience think that their company's stance on gender issues is reflected in their work environment, while only 33% of women with 15+ years of experience do.


Do you think your company could potentially name a woman as its CEO within the next 5 years?

Results by Degree

 
Degree % Who answered 'Yes'
No Degree 41%
Bachelor 40%
Master 41%
MBA 23%
  • The unbridgeable gap between senior management and executive level: Women with an MBA, who often work in the upper ranks of their company's management, are almost twice less likely than others to think that their company could name a female CEO in the next 5 years (23% of female employees with an MBA  think it is likely, against 40% of those with a bachelor degree). Seeing how career progression happens in the upper echelons of their company seems to make them realise how distant the CEO positions are for women in senior management.


After taking a maternity leave, would you or did you go back to work in the same industry?


Results by Industry

  
Industry % Who Answered 'Yes'
Insurance 82%
Financial Services 77%
Consumer Goods 76%
Manufacturing & Industrials 76%
Consulting & Professional Services 74%
Law Practice 73%
Public sector 69%
Construction & Real Estate 67%
Media & Communication 67%
Energy, Mining, Chemicals 58%
Apps, Web, eCommerce 57%
Technology & Telecoms 56%
Charity & Not For Profit 47%
Retail 47%
Pharmaceuticals & Biotech 40%
  • Are stability and money more valued than flexibility by young parents? Female professionals in industries like consulting and financial services, with notoriously long hours, still overwhelmingly say that they will go back to work in the same sector after taking a maternity break (77% of financial services professionals, 74% of consultancies employees). At the opposite end of the spectrum, in industries like retail and charity, less than half the female professionals say they would go back to work in that industry (47% in both sectors). The reasons might be that these industries are among the worst paying ones for women and they do not offer the stability that others with similar pay levels do.


Michaela Rosbrook, Founder of Wessex Partners, said: "This study shows that when gender inequalities exist within a company, employees always end-up discovering them. In this day and age, no company can expect to hide a gender pay gap behind high salaries and opaque pay policies, nor can they reasonably expect their senior female employees to be unaware of the glass ceiling when they are confronted to it everyday."

 

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