Inherent gender bias root of pay and progression gaps in finance

The experiences of men and women working in finance vary drastically in terms of pay, progression and prejudice, according to new research released today by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).

Men are more likely to push for a pay rise than women, and more likely to get one.

26  per cent of men had asked for a pay rise in the last year compared to 18 per cent of women and 47 per cent of men had received a pay rise in that time period compared to 40 per cent of women

While almost two thirds of men (60 per cent) think men and women are treated equally when it comes to progression opportunities and remuneration, this is the experience of less than half of women (43 per cent).

Amongst the research findings are differences in men and women’s experiences of discrimination.

60 per cent of women in senior management positions say they have been discriminated against at work because of their gender, almost 20 per cent more than men in the same position (42 per cent).

Almost three times as many women in middle management (37 per cent) say they have experienced discrimination because of their gender than men in the same position (14 per cent).

This problem spans all levels except junior management level and is most pronounced at middle and senior management levels.

The research also shows how starting a family disproportionately detrimentally effects women.

Key findings included that: almost half of mothers (48 per cent) think that having children is a top barrier to progression in the workplace, compared to just 30 per cent of fathers.

More than a third of mothers (32 per cent) say that men and women aren’t given the same career opportunities because child caring responsibilities fall mostly to women, nearly double the proportion of fathers (17 per cent).

Professor Sir Cary L Cooper CBE, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School said: “This new survey that explores the contributing factors behind the large gender pay gap and barriers to progression for women in finance is very worrying, in a sector that is vital to UK Plc.

“If we don’t confront this unconscious gender bias and barriers to opportunity for women in finance, we will lose large numbers of women from the sector which puts at risk our international reputation as a leading banking and finance centre.”