'Disappointed by the Worldwide Gender Pay Gap'

By Tilley, Charles | Financial Management (UK), October 2012 | Go to article overview

'Disappointed by the Worldwide Gender Pay Gap'


Tilley, Charles, Financial Management (UK)


CIMA's most recent global salary survey of members and students makes for reassuring reading. The results show clearly that the CIMA community is in demand worldwide and earning well above national averages. The majority of our members and students also firmly believe that the qualification creates career opportunities and gives them greater scope to move across all areas of business. But having said that, the report also reveals an ongoing cause for concern.

Undoubtedly, CIMA's professional qualification opens doors. But in terms of earning power, there is still a gulf in many countries between men and women. This is not a surprise. Our 2010 report, "Breaking glass: strategies for tomorrow's leaders", highlighted the fact that women still lagged behind men in terms of seniority and salary--even in the comparatively meritocratic profession of management accountancy.

The surprise is in the scale of the problem. Our salary survey (see page 62 for a full report) shows that among our student population, the earnings gap between genders is generally under ten per cent (and mostly in the region of three to six per cent). While this is not acceptable, the divide really begins to grow among members. No global region seems to be immune, and in many cases the disparity goes above 20 per cent. These include: South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. Most surprising of all, the league table is topped by Singapore, with 44 per cent disparity, and the USA with a 52 per cent gap.

To put these figures into context, our researchers point out that part of this trend can be attributed to the fact that more senior male members answered our questionnaire than their female contemporaries. Added to this a significant number of female respondents said that they work part time or had a short working week. Evidently, this will have an impact on the overall statistics.

But it does not explain the whole problem. The phenomenon is too widespread. And I cannot help but feel disappointed that the gap is still so wide--particularly in a profession such as management accountancy where, as I have mentioned already, you would assume an individual would be assessed on their ability and not their gender.

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