Bosses face 98-year wait for equal pay

By Alex Stevenson

Female executives will have to wait until 2109 before their average salary catches up with those of their male peers, research out today suggests.

Figures from the Chartered Institute of Management's national management salary survey found men are paid an average of £42,441 among executives of all seniority levels. Women, doing the same jobs, are paid an average of £31,895.

The 2109 date is calculated on the basis that female salaries increased by 2.4% during the 12 months to February 2011, just 0.3% higher than the increase in male salaries.

"Yet again, businesses are contributing to the persistent gender pay gap and alienating top female employees by continuing to pay men and women unequally," said Petra Wilton, director of policy and research at the CMI.

"This kind of bad management is damaging UK businesses and must be addressed.

"It is the responsibility of every executive – both female and male – organisation and the government to help bring about change."

The research contained some positive news, however. Among junior executives women earned more than their male counterparts for the first time since records began, taking home £21,969 compared to male executives' £21,367.

"Diversity shouldn't be seen as something that has to be accommodated, but something that must be celebrated," Ms Wilton added.

She called on the government to scrutinise organisational pay more closely, demand more transparency on pay bandings and publicly expose organisations which make the gender pay gap worse.

"They and employers must ensure that women are nurtured and supported at work, and can access development opportunities to help them on their way to senior management positions," Ms Wilton said.

"We want to see mentoring and sponsorship programmes in more businesses and industries and more female executives pushing their employers to formalise and publicise equal pay and opportunity policies."

Last December the coalition dropped compulsory audits to close the gender pay gap contained in Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman's Equality Act. Companies are now only asked to disclose their pay figures on a voluntary basis.