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Gender Pay Gap Still a Concern for UK Recruitment Sector – But Flexible Work Being Embraced

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Women in Recruitment, which was formed to give all recruitment firms practical support in attracting, developing and retaining their female talent has said that the gender pay gap is still a significant concern for the sector. Latest research from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) into pay and benefits in the recruitment sector has highlighted the persistent gender pay gap that exists within the recruitment sector.

All large employers, including recruitment organisations, with over 250 employees are now required by the government to publish and report their gender pay gap.  But it seems that so far, this change in legislation has made little impact and the gender pay gap in recruitment has not reduced since the REC’s last report in 2015. The latest report’s key findings are as follows:

Gender differences

  • Among consultants, men earn on average £2,343 more from their basic salary than women, with a mean gender pay gap of 9 per cent for basic salary.
  • Among managers, men earn on average £2,566 more from their basic salary than women, with a mean gender pay gap of 6 per cent.
  • Among consultants, men earn on average £5,589 more from their total earnings (including bonus, commission, etc) than women, with a mean gender pay gap of 14 per cent.
  • Among managers, men earn on average £5,586 more from their total earnings than women, with a mean gender pay gap of 10 per cent.
  • Male managers and male consultants are as likely, or more likely, to be entitled to more benefits than their female counterparts (with the key exception of female managers’ entitlement to flexible working/hours).
  • Over half of women in the survey had used one method of flexible working in the last 12 months, compared to a third of men.

Disappointingly, the survey suggests that not only are women in recruitment’s basic salaries lower than men’s on average, but that the gap increases when benefits and discretionary payments such as bonuses and commission are taken into account.

The REC recommend that employers should be monitoring pay and rewards schemes to ensure they are applied equitably and that any discrepancies in pay between men and women are addressed. Reviewing pay and bonus policies to ensure they are gender neutral is vital, as is ensuring men and women have equal opportunity to grow into more senior roles. It is hoped that further transparency driven by the reporting legislation will encourage employers to adopt a more proactive approach to closing the Gender Pay Gap.

On a more positive note, the survey finds that the tide is turning in support of flexible working, with more than half of women (53 per cent) and a third of men (33 per cent) working in recruitment having used at least one method of flexible working in the past year. However, even there the balance is unequal and gender plays a role.

Commenting on the report findings, the REC’s CEO Neil Carberry said:

“This is a great industry to build a career in, but we must always work to ensure that people can see this. When I started as a consultant, it offered me a crash course in business and people management that still benefits me every day.

“Evidence of persistent gender pay gap is a real area of concern. Reviewing pay and bonus policies to ensure they are gender neutral is absolutely vital, as is ensuring men and women have equal opportunity to grow into more senior roles.”

In summary, there is most certainly more work to be done on all fronts to embed equality and fairness of opportunity for all throughout our industry.

If this article resonates with you and you want to take positive steps to support gender diversity and encourage more women into management positions in your recruitment organisation, take a look at the Women in Recruitment “Power of Me” programme. It’s an online training course designed specifically to help women in the recruitment sector understand their personal strengths and achieve their full career potential.