Project leaders can’t ignore the gender wage gap

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Posted by Kirsten on 25th Nov 2016

Findings from its most recent Gender Wage Gap report reinforced those found in  APM’s Salary and Market Trends Survey 2016, which should act as a wakeup call for employers and decision makers across all UK projects.

The battle for gender equality in salaries is more prominent than ever at present. In her first speech as Prime Minster, Theresa May declared, “If you are women, you will earn less than a man” - a problem the nation has tried to solve for nearly fifty years.

The project management profession is not exempt from the issue and while change may not be immediate, project leaders must join the discussion to explore how factors such as childcare, maternity leave and both intentional and unintentional biascan be addressed as they continue to have a lasting impact on women’s career prospects.

The average gender pay gap for project professionals currently sits at 29.5%, just over 11% higher than the average found by the IFS.

However figures drawn down by the IFS show this figure can reach as high as 36% when earnings are looked at on a week-by-week basis, revealing how part time hours remain a key aspect of the gap.

The Salary Survey showed that while more men feel their career prospects can in fact improve following a career break, over 70% percent of women felt their prospects were worse following a break such as maternity leave.

IFS’s study goes on to report that in the first 12 years of having a child the gap in salaries widens from just 10% to 33%  below men.

What’s more, this is not due to a lack of ambition; APM’s survey demonstrates a demand from female project managers to attain the top jobs, with more females than men pointing towards career progression as a key attribute when looking for a role.

With over a quarter of the project population female, the gender pay gap is an important aspect impacting the professions' continuing efforts to diversify.

By joining the bigger conversation and working with many of the UKs other industries which face the same issues, hopefully together they can be addressed and overcome.

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