HR & Management

Financial flatline: No growth in percentage of British women earning high salaries

3 min read

30 November 2015

Former deputy editor

The percentage of high-earning British women has remained static over four years, according to a report that analysed HMRC data to determine there is a financial flatline where females are concerned.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) said in November that female full-time workers earn less than male counterparts across 90 per cent of sectors.

Vicki Belt, assistant director of UKCES, said: “This research brings home the bleak reality of gender inequality at work in the UK. In spite of women’s real achievements in education, the gender pay gap stubbornly remains.”

Now law firm Clyde & Co has found that, according to HMRC data, there is also a trend of static salaries when it comes to women. The numbers showed that the amount of females that are higher rate tax payers has remained at just 27 per cent for the past four financial years.

That’s equivalent to 1.21m of the 4.47m higher rate tax payers – those declaring an income between £31,786 to £150,000.

And though the number of individuals in that 27 per cent has grown by almost 1m women earning high salaries, it’s not been enough to move the needle on the proportion of females to males.

Prime minister David Cameron has been working to end the “scandal”, declaring a scheme back in July that will call on firms with over 250 employees to reveal the gender pay gaps between employees.

Read more on the gender pay gap:

He said the strategy, which is due to launch in early 2016, would “create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up”. Clyde & Co noted that better childcare support, maternity leave and family-friendly initiatives could help tackle pay issues.

Charles Urquhart, employment partner at Clyde & Co, said: “Over 40 years since we saw the first legislation aimed at tackling differences between the sexes in the workplace, these further initiatives, and the intent behind them, are welcome.

“We don’t know yet precisely what figures employers will be required to publish but if it’s simply a matter of reporting an average of men and women’s basic pay and bonuses every three years, it won’t tell us much more than we already know.

“For gender pay reporting to be valuable, a like for like comparison across all levels within an organisation, from the CEO to unskilled levels of employee, would be needed. This would be much more useful than ‘average’ data across an organisation, but it would create far more of a burden on employers, which the Government will no doubt be wanting to avoid.”

Image: Shutterstock