Female directors still being paid a small fraction of their male counterparts

Gender pay gap among blue-chip companies far worse than in the general population, a new report shows

Female directors at the UK’s biggest companies are still being paid a fraction of the amount their male counterparts receive, new research shows, underlining the pay gap that still exists between men and women in Britain’s boardrooms.

The average pay for FTSE 100 female directors stands at just £237,000 which is only slightly more than a quarter of the £875,900 paid to their male counterparts, according to research by New Street Consulting Group.

With female directors paid 73% less, the figures show the gender pay gap at blue-chip companies is far worse than the overall population, with women paid 15.5% less than men in the broader jobs market, based on official data.

The large pay gap at board level is mainly due to the majority of female directors at FTSE 100 companies holding non-executive jobs which attract lower salaries than executive ones.

The number of female directors at FTSE 100 firms has increased sharply in the last five years, said New Street Consulting Group director Claire Carter, but the research showed there is “much more to do”.

“Focusing solely on the percentages of directors that are women is not enough when trying to approach equality,” she said.

In this year’s final update on the government-backed Hampton-Alexander review, which looked at female representation at the top of business, its target of 33% of board positions at FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 firms being held by women by 2020 had been achieved. Sir Philip Hampton, who chaired the review, hailed the progress but said businesses needed to recruit and promote women to top executive roles “to sustain the changes made”.

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Carter said most businesses wanted to end the “old boys club that exists at the top”. “The key to doing that will be ensuring that women have more executive responsibilities and are trained and prepared properly for taking on that responsibility. It will be a case of their examining whether there are any barriers that are preventing females from reaching the very top at their organisation.”

Female non-executive directors at FTSE 100 firms receive an average pay of £104,800, compared with £170,400 for men, according to the New Street Consulting Group research. The pay gap between executive directors is even more apparent, with women getting an average of £1.5m, in comparison to £2.5m for male peers.

Studies show that having females on boards has been associated with better future financial performance, including higher profits and stock market returns.


Zoe Wood

The GuardianTramp

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