A guest post from Thiago Kiwi of LSBF, London School of Business and Finance
As Christmas approaches and November’s payday packet is resigned to the gift-buying budget, you many notice that your money isn’t piling up quite as high under the tree as your husbands, brothers, or male friends. Despite the fact that women are climbing the career ladder faster than ever before and applying to more high-earning career-orientated courses like the ones we offer at London School of Business and Finance, female bosses are still only earning three-quarters as much as their male colleagues, more than 40 years after the Equal Pay Act outlawed any kind of pay discrimination.
According to the World Economic Forum, women in Britain are lagging behind in the financial stakes, hitting an all-time low at number 26 in the 2014 Global Gender Gap Report. Outpaced by the likes of Iceland, Latvia and Burundi, average wages for women in the UK fell by £2,700 in a year to £15,400, while the average salary for men stayed unchanged at £24,800.
In the quest for answers, many factors have been attributed to explain the gender pay gap, including the inevitable suggestion that women prefer to take time out of industry to have children. But with news that top companies such as Facebook and Google are providing opportunities for aspiring career-mothers to freeze their eggs, it’s clear that women are indeed aiming for the top, irrespective of potential childbirth. In fact, a study earlier this year by US management consultancy Bain & Co found that women statistically start out at a new job with much higher progression ambitions than their male counterparts, but have their confidence diminished by colleagues, friends and a male-favouring promotion system. This in turn makes women less likely to ask for a pay rise, negotiate the terms of their contract or speak out against equalities to their boss.
Here at LSBF, we actively encourage young women to enter the traditionally male-dominated fields of management, accountancy and mathematics. We acknowledge that a change needs to come, and by preparing eager women – and men, for that matter – to enter their chosen field and be the best they can be, we hope to play a small part in changing the stereotypes associated with finance.
With figures from the Trades Union Congress estimating that just one in 15 full-time working women earn £50,000 or more per year, compared to one in seven men, we want to encourage young women to know that they too can aim as high as they wish, with the pay packet to match their talents. The same sentiment goes for employers – a healthy mix of genders often makes for a more cohesive working environment, and recruitment should always be about the best person for the job, irrespective of whether that person is male or female.
So what can improvements can we expect to see in the next year? Although the industry revolution we’re hoping for might be a little further off, maybe Christmas 2015 could see a more evenly stacked pile of gifts under the tree. The closer we get to eliminating the gender pay gap, the closer we get to a truly equal society – it’s just a case of getting the world’s biggest employers to pay attention.