Women in HR earn 13 per cent less on average, survey claims

11 Feb 2019 By Francis Churchill

Gender pay gap persists despite women receiving larger pay increases than men when switching role

Female HR professionals are being paid an average 13 per cent less than their male counterparts working in the function, according to a new survey.

Despite women being offered larger salary increases than men when they moved into a new HR role, their pay still lagged behind their male counterparts regardless of sector.

Female HR professionals in the financial services sector faced the largest gap, at an average of 16 per cent.

Reward specialists also endured a notably large pay gap, despite seeing some of the largest pay increases for women. Female senior and executive level hires in reward roles in the financial services sector received an average increase in base pay of 24 per cent when moving role, bringing their average salary up to £122,500.

Male salaries in the specialism only increased by an average 15 per cent when moving role, however the average salary was £144,250.

The report also found women still dominated the profession, making up around 74 per cent of the HR workforce.

The statistics were compiled by recruitment firm OakLeaf Partnership, which analysed the gender pay of more than 600 HR placements it made in the last financial year.

“Our findings showed some clear evidence of a gender pay gap across most industries, and what also became apparent were the gaps in the actual pay increases between gender, which was something we hadn’t expected,” the report said.

OakLeaf looked at a number of areas including reward and analytics, human capital services, commerce and industry, financial and professional services and payroll.

Payroll saw one of the smallest gender pay gaps, with very little disparity at the junior end of the pay scale and women being paid slightly more at the mid-level, while in commerce and industry the results showed men were frequently being paid less than women.

The report also found that in many areas, junior-level males were receiving smaller pay increases than their female counterparts, which might be contributing to the lower representation of men in the profession.

Charles Cotton, senior reward and performance advisor at the CIPD, said women working in HR faced many of the same barriers to pay equality that needed to be addressed in other areas of business, including a concentration of women in lower-paying roles because of multiple barriers to promotion.

However, he added, the imbalance between men and women suggested more also needed to be done to encourage men into the profession.

“What we need to do is think about not only what you need to do to get more women into senior management, [but] what do you need to do to make the profession more attractive to men at a junior level,” he told People Management.

“We’re not making HR appealing enough to men and those men that are in HR would appear to be concentrated in the higher-paid positions. So it may be if we’re not getting enough men into the lower grades then in the future there might be even more of a gender imbalance with HR.”

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