Latest data reveals pay crisis for female managers in manufacturing

New salary figures show a pay crisis is hitting female managers in manufacturing, with women earning only three-quarters of what men in full-time comparable jobs earn. The gender pay gap of 23% means the manufacturing sector reflects the UK average, and other industries like retail.

The data, published annually by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) and salary specialists XpertHR, shows the current gender pay gap for the sector's managers stands at £9,590, with the average salary recorded as £42,187 for men and £32,597 for women. Nationally female managers are earning only three-quarters (77%) of what men in full-time comparable jobs earn – a 23% gender pay gap.

Analysis of the National Management Salary Survey, which covers over 8,700 professional workers in manufacturing and 68,000 across the UK, shows the gap is widest between men and women aged between 45 and 60 and stands at £16,680 per year.

Yet, the gap is two-fold. Not only is there a salary gap in the manufacturing sector, but there is also a persistent 'bonus pay gap'. The average bonus for a female director working in manufacturing stands at £45,200, while for men in the same role the average pay-out is £49,925. Inequalities remain at senior levels - when bonus payments are added, male directors took home £188,739 compared to £164,081 for women (a difference of £24,658 on average).

While annual salary increases for men and women, averaged across all levels, have been level-pegging at 2.3%, there are pockets of good news for female managers. Male Department Managers' basic salaries increased by 3% compared to 4.5% for women in the same role in the manufacturing sector. .

The figures for the next generation of female managers also show some cause for optimism. Women's annual pay awards have edged ahead of men's in three of the five most junior job levels (an average of 2.4% compared to 2.3%). The gap still exists for younger women but it is narrower than for their older, more senior colleagues, standing at 6% for those between the ages of 20 to 25, and 8% for those aged between 26 and 35, before leaping upwards for older women.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, says: "Lower levels of pay for women managers cannot be justified, yet our extensive data shows the pay gap remains a reality for too many women in manufacturing. Women and men should be paid on the basis of their performance in their particular roles, but this is clearly not yet the case for far too many. We have to stamp out cultures that excuse this as the result of time out for motherhood and tackle gender bias in pay policies that put too much emphasis on time served."

XpertHR's head of salary surveys, Mark Crail, says: "The XpertHR data shows that women begin to fall behind at the age when they are most likely to be starting a family, and it just gets worse from then on. It appears that employers often give up on women in mid-career and are missing out on a huge pool of untapped knowledge, experience and talent."

As reported in May, data shows that labour turnover among managers for the last 12 months is at a record low, with striking differences compared to the height of the recession three years ago (4.8% compared to 20%). For the first time since 2006 an equal proportion of men and women have been made redundant in manufacturing – 0.3%.Furthermore, the data shows that the "executive pipeline" is still failing women, who constitute a majority of entry level professional roles nationally (69%) but become increasingly rare in more senior management roles (making up just 30% of directors).

Ann Francke continues: "With the economy looking healthier than ever, it's the perfect time for employers in the manufacturing sector to expand their talent pool by supporting more women to become senior managers and leaders. CMI is calling for employers to measure and report on the percentage of women at each level of management and what they are paid, which leading employers are increasingly doing."

As part of its campaign for a Better Managed Britain, CMI is urging employers in Scotland to use the free Management 2020 Benchmarking Tool - . This allows leaders to compare their organisation's performance against others and set goals based on three core areas of Purpose, People and Potential. Improving performance in these critical areas means employers taking action to help close the gender salary gap, including:

  • Championing diversity in the talent pipeline at all levels by setting targets to benchmark achievement in terms of equal pay and promotion.
  • Actively encouraging parents, carers or others to return to work after career breaks so that organisations can retain their best people, regardless of age, gender or family situation.
  • Having senior leaders who act as role models on this issue. For women, this is about sharing their achievements by mentoring other women in order to give them the confidence, training and skills they need to flourish in top management roles. By seeing other women – of all ages – in positions of influence, female managers believe this is possible. For men, there is just as important a role to play in sponsoring or developing female managers in their company or sector.

For more practical advice and resources to help develop female talent, visit:


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