Men nearly twice as bullish as women over salary expectations

The expectations of annual pay packets for men and women working in finance vary drastically, according to new research by AAT. The ‘Finance Gender Pay Gap’ campaign has revealed that men are seeking an average of some £12,000 more than they are currently earning, whereas women want an average of just over half that amount (£7,000).

AAT surveyed some 2,000 finance employees to establish how they viewed their current salaries versus their general expectations. In the survey, men working full time were already earning around 18% more than women, an increase on previous years, with the gap widening to 23% at senior membership levels.

The average male surveyed felt their current pay was £11,963.51 per year light of what they feel they are worth, with one in 15 men (6.5%) believing they should be paid at least £40,000 more on an annual basis. In contrast, the average female felt they should be earning £6,854.43 more, with just 1% feeling that their salary was at least £40,000 short. Nearly half of women (43%) working in finance believed their worth to be more modest, seeking an annual increase in wages of £3,000 or less – this was only true for 29% of men.

The research also revealed that men are more likely to push for a pay rise than women, and are more likely to get one. Over one in four men working in finance (26%) had asked for a pay rise in the last year compared to less than one in five women (18%). Conversely, three in five women (61%) have never asked for a pay rise, true of just over half of men working in the sector (54%). Nearly half of men surveyed (47%) had received a pay rise during the last year, compared to 40% of women.

Professor Sir Cary L Cooper CBE, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School said: “Both businesses and employees themselves need to take greater responsibility to narrow this unconscious gender bias and barriers to opportunity that may be preventing some women in finance from realising their true value. Women should be encouraged to give thought to whether they are being paid fairly for their contribution at work, and indeed whether they are keeping pace with their male counterparts.”

Olivia Hill, Chief HR Officer at AAT, said: “These latest figures suggest that men working in finance are far more positive about their worth and value in the workplace, and subsequently are more confident of asking for a pay rise, which many are receiving. There is also a suggestion that women may have less awareness, or desire, to reach the more senior levels of their company and reap the associated financial benefits. Women need to feel more empowered to redress the balance and ensure they are receiving fair recompense for the hours they put in at the office. The finance sector needs to consider equality and diversity in more depth if it is to continue to attract the best talent.”

“To help champion positive progress, AAT has launched a white paper which explores how and why inequality exists in finance, and provides expert advice and support for organisations who may wish to improve their performance in this area.”

AAT’s research and guidance for finance sector businesses and finance teams in other sectors is included in its Making the finance sector add up for women white paper.

Adam Harwood is AAT's Media Relations Manager.

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