Utility sector pay gap between men and women rises to near 20%

The gap between salaries received by men and those for women in the utilities has increased over the past year and now stands at just under 20% according to recent research findings.

Researchers at the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and salary survey specialist, XpertHR, found that men continued to receive greater salaries than women because they were more likely than women to be promoted into higher-paid posts.

This trend maintained a 23% wages gap between the sexes across all industries according to the study of salary data on more than 60,000 employees.

Research released today by the Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR reveals that men are more likely than women to have been promoted into senior and higher paying management roles in the past year, increasing the gender pay gap year on year from 22.8% to 23.1%. The study found that 14% of male managers were promoted in the past year compared to 10% of female managers.

The pay gap in the utilities was 19.6% according to the CMI study which translated as £9,190 – slightly higher than at the same time last year.

Accounting for staff turnover did not improve the picture for women across all industries studied. CMI found that 47% of men who had remained with their employer for the past five years were promoted compared to 39% of women who had spent the same period with one employer.

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, says that the imminent pay reporting regulations will focus employers on closing the gender pay gap in their organisations:

“Promoting men ahead of women is keeping us all back. Diversity delivers better financial results, better culture and better decision making. Even before the new regulations kick in, employers need to get on board with reporting on their recruitment and promotion policies and how much they pay their men and women. Transparency and targets are what we need to deal with stubborn problems like the gender pay gap.”

Mark Crail, content director at XpertHR, said the disparity "begins to open up at relatively junior levels.” The research showed that the gap continues to grow. While women comprise 73% of the workforce at entry and junior level, they make up 42% of senior management and 32% of director-level posts.

New legislation to tackle the gender pay gap is due to come into effect in April next year. It will include measures to make it compulsory for large companies to report on how much they pay their male and female staff.