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Survey reveals gender pay gap perceptions

MORE THAN a third of UK accountants believe that men are paid more than women doing the same job, according to a recent survey from

Four in ten believe that men are paid up to 30% more than their female counterparts in the same role, while half believe that a man’s salary cheque could be higher by 10-20%. A further 9% believe men are receiving a staggering 40% more than women doing exactly the same job.

When accountants were asked to give more detailed responses, answers varied from “employers can get away with it” to social pressure for women to remain “content with what they get”. Others believe men have the ‘guts to ask for pay rises’ and it is “more in their nature to negotiate a package, whereas women lack the confidence to ask”. One anonymous accountant said: “When men ask for a promotion or pay rise they are seen as ambitious but women are seen as pushy and it goes against them”. Others believe that career breaks and family commitments are the main reason for the divide.

The survey echoes recent Chartered Management Institute research which revealed that men in the UK get paid 23% more than woman in the same position.

Simon Wright, Operations Director at, said: “With auditors and accountants skilled at keeping a close eye on the numbers, it begs the question of why bosses are not ensuring equality of pay in their own organisations. While it would seem a draconian measure to introduce compulsory pay audits, those at the top should be accountable and ensure equal pay policies are adhered to. After all it is forty four years since the Equal Pay Act was passed in the UK.

“Some respondents felt at the core that women struggle to ask for a pay-rise, either through lack of confidence or not wanting to appear ‘pushy or aggressive’ which could been seen to go against them. In contrast, their male counterparts are seen to be ambitious and taking control of their career when they ask for a pay-rise.

“Perhaps bosses should take a different approach and pro-actively promote and reward with pay-rises as opposed to the most forceful employee winning the bigger pay cheque.”

The survey also revealed that almost half of auditors and accountants (44%) believe that the work/life imbalance as a partner makes it impossible to raise a family at the same time and prevents women from becoming a partner in the audit and accountancy profession.

Other results included seven in ten accountants believing that the glass ceiling for women does still exist, although half of these respondents conceded that they feel the situation is improving.

When asked about their own workplace, auditors and accountants stated the top three issues affecting gender inequality were family responsibilities, followed closely by work culture such as the old boy-network and men preferring to work with men.

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