The latest annual management survey from the Chartered Management Institute (summarised here) puts some hard data behind the current state of UK gender inequality at work. It’s not good and it seems to be getting worse.

The CMI surveyed 42,000 individuals, so there’s unlikely to be much in the way of sample error. They found that

  • Women are more likely to be promoted through management ranks more quickly (this is true at each level from team leader through to director – detail in the summary)
  • But on average they are paid more than £6,000 less than their male counterparts (£6067, to be precise), and this gap has grown in percentage terms since last year (up from 11.8% to 12.2%). At board level the salary differentials are almost 30% of salary, up from a quarter last year.
  • And although they are more likely to receive a bonus than male counterparts, the actual size of the bonus is likely to be smaller, both as a proportion of income and in actual terms)
  • So perhaps it’s not surprising that women are more likely to resign than men.

At the same time, the proportion of female managers has grown year on year, from 31% to more than 35% (perhaps because of the rapid promotion.) The CMI’s Corporate Affairs director Jo Causon, seems quite mild in her comments: “Despite the weight of legislation and the reality that reward should match responsibility, gender bias seems to be getting worse, not better.”

The averages conceal some revealing differences, at least to judge from an article by Madeleine Bunting, who seems to have had access to the full report. In the food and drink sector the pay gap runs at 46%, almost four times the average; in financial services, it’s 40%, or more than three times the average. But in the public sector, which takes this seriously, the pay gap is now less than 1%. Unsurprisingly, her interviewees were less restrained. Professor Linda Grattan, of the London Business School, is quoted as follows:

Why aren’t more women taking their employers to court? Women are getting a really bad deal, yet we know from the research that they are just as high performers as men.”

The answer is that they are going to court, and in rapidly increasing numbers, and the tribunals system is apparently straining at the seams as a result. Since Labour came to power, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only 3%. I blogged in July about the Equality Opportunities Commission’s final report. It reckoned that pay equality was 20 years away. Time to revise that figure upwards, I’d say – unless the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights wants to try to address it.