Not enough Norfolk women securing senior management roles, study finds

Gill Buchanan, director of Pure Resourcing Solutions

Gill Buchanan, director of Pure Resourcing Solutions - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's businesswomen are earning less than their male counterparts because they are not challenging for senior management positions, researchers behind a study have found.

Data suggests that more men earn £30,000 or over in the county compared to women, giving the impression that there are less female employees in management positions.

The findings – collected from Norwich-based website – state that 73pc of male entries earn £30,000 and above, while only 38pc of women earn an income in this bracket. It has sparked calls for more to be done to encourage women to apply for top-flight jobs by introducing flexible working options – including more support for child care.

Gill Buchanan, director at Pure Resourcing Solutions, which sourced the data through the company's pay comparison website, said: 'We believe women are just as ambitious as men, but, typically, they do not go for promotion into senior roles, due to these reasons. Usually, the trade-off is a lower salary.

'A lot can be done to encourage more women into senior jobs so they can enjoy the same salaries as their male counterparts. Barriers to women getting into the executive management pipeline can be removed. Issues such as poor career guidance, lack of flexible working options and employer expectations that do not let women juggle work and family life can impact a woman's approach to her career.

'Of course, there are also obstructions outside work - problems with childcare or caring responsibilities for an elderly relative, for example.'

Launched in July, Compare My Salary allows workers to investigate salary trends and look closely at the market when searching for a new job.

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Scarlet Harris, the women's equality officer TUC, said: 'Part of the reason is that women's work is still undervalued and low pay is widespread in the sectors where women often work, such as retail, catering and care work.

'But it's also because despite being 40 years since the Equal Pay Act, women still face a career penalty when they have children.

'Career breaks, a period working part-time or simply the need to work more flexibly to accommodate childcare needs often equate to lower pay, fewer progression opportunities, and women being employed below their skill level.

'The situation may get worse following new rules introduced in 2013 that mean women suffering discrimination at work must pay upfront fees of over one thousand pounds to take the case to tribunal.

'Many women simply cannot afford this and are being priced out of justice, with the number of claims falling dramatically.'

Meanwhile, Erika Clegg, co-founder of Southwold design agency Spring, added: 'We know that women are coming out of the education system very well qualified for progress in our growth industries: but the careers pipeline leaks and that's our challenge. How do we keep these valuable skills in business?

'We need to support people coming up behind us, male and female, to ensure our businesses have access to the skills they need.

'There's a great opportunity for businesses in working with organisations like New Anglia LEP to help make this happen. For women who are already in careers, donating just a little of their time to help inspire the next generation is hugely powerful.

'And of course, it might well be that women who have stuck with it into executive management roles simply don't have the time to fill in salary surveys.'

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