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Gender pay gap narrows for younger accountants but widens for the over-45s

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While the pay gap between males and females is narrowing for accountants under 30, the opposite is the case for those over 45.

According to Robert Half and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the average basic salary for a male chartered accountant over 45 is £98,400, which is over 60% more than their female colleagues' average of £60,500.

But in the case of those under 30, females currently receive an average wage of £47,300 (an increase of 3% from the previous year) while the average male salary is only 4% higher at £49,300 (a decrease of 5% from the previous year).

The huge difference in pay between males and females over 45 seems to have been exacerbated in the past year with women aged 46-55 reporting an average 10% drop from last year's figures, compared with just a 1% drop for males.
 
Phil Sheridan, managing director Robert Half UK, said: "One of the interesting outcomes of the downturn seems to be the narrowing of the gender pay gap for those who have recently embarked on their accountancy careers. Historically, some of the difference in salaries between genders has been attributable to the fact that the average male accountant tends to be older and longer qualified than their female counterparts. As women continue along their career path it is important that this gap doesn't widen."
  
The global economic downturn had a noticeable effect on salaries at all career stages this year, with 60% of those questioned responding that the downturn had a negative effect on their basic remuneration. In the case of bonuses nearly 70% of those eligible for a bonus reported that this had been negatively affected in the past 12 months.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of managers believe an acceptable level of salary increases is important to the retention of key staff in the current climate. One in four considers it very important, especially those in the banking and capital markets sector.
 
Although some finance teams continue to make redundancies, many respondents indicated that the greater challenge this year will be making the case for increased resource (63%) and with budgets still under pressure, being able to reward staff in non-monetary ways (59%).
 
Managers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector were most optimistic for salary increases (71%, with an average salary increase of 4.3%). Expectations are much lower in construction, property and real estate, where only 34% expect an increase (average increase of 3.6%) and government, charity and not-for-profit (36% are optimistic, with an average increase of 1.9%).