In the UK the pay gap between senior and junior levels has increased by 5.3%. In Europe overall the gap rose by 2.2%, the lowest of all the global regions.
Hay Group’s pay data, which analysed pay trends among 16 million employees, also found the average salary in the UK of a senior manager is 3.3 times the average salary of a lower-level employee.
Hay Group consultant Adam Burden said although the gap has accelerated since the recession, it is “not purely a post-recession issue”.
“This is a complex trend that has been building for the past 30 years, through economic boom as well as bust,” he explained. “We’re seeing it impact different geographies in different ways, as the influence of local attitudes to employment and pay are felt in each region.”
Burden added the difference between the UK and mainland Europe was “not altogether surprising” given trade unions are stronger in Europe, helping to maintain pay equality.
He said a large salary gap could cause “discontent” among employees and advised organisations to be “transparent” and talk about their reward policies openly.
“[Employers] should also invest in their training and development programmes to upskill their workforces to meet the future demands of their businesses,” he added. “Done properly, these solutions present an opportunity for organisations to navigate the pay gap and improve employee engagement.”