In April 2019, Emolument partnered with executive search and advisory firm Wessex Partners on a global survey called ‘Women @ Work: are things really changing?’.

430 female professionals gave their insights on the gender pay gap within their company and industry, and on how being a woman has affected their career. Below are the most noteworthy findings of the study, including answers to the following questions:

  • Are you paid the same as your male colleagues for doing the same work ?
  • Is your company's public stance on gender equality reflected in your work environment?
  • Do you think your company could potentially name a woman as its CEO within the next 5 years?
  • After taking a maternity leave, would you or did you go back to work in the same industry?

Are you paid the same as your male colleagues for doing the same work?

Results by Industry

Industry

Gender pay gap

% Who answered 'No'

Law Practice

38%

73%

Financial Services

30%

61%

Insurance

27%

55%

Consumer Goods

22%

47%

Pharmaceuticals & Biotech

21%

65%

Consulting & Professional Services

21%

48%

Retail

20%

65%

Technology & Telecoms

20%

59%

Manufacturing & Industrials

19%

47%

Public Sector

19%

29%

Construction & Real Estate

15%

52%

Energy, Mining, Chemicals

14%

33%

Media & Communication

13%

63%

Charity & Not For Profit

6%

41%

Perceptions are true to reality: There is a significant correlation between the actual gender pay gap and perceived gender inequalities (a 0.54 correlation coefficient across the sectors in the above chart). Most industries in which the gender pay gap is the highest are also the ones in which most women are aware that they are paid less than men (law practice, financial services).

A high salary won’t mask the gender pay gap: There is very little correlation between the amount of money women receive and their gender gap perception. This is particularly visible in financial services, where women receive higher paychecks than in other industries but where 61% of them still think, with reason, that they are being paid less than male professionals doing the same work.

Is your company's public stance on gender equality reflected in your work environment?

Results by Years of Experience

Years of Experience

% who answered 'Yes'

0-4

45%

5-9

32%

10-14

31%

15+

33%

The more experienced, the more cynical: The more time women spend in a corporate environment, the more cynical they become about their company’s stance on gender equality – 45% of female employees with less than 4 years of experience think that their company's stance on gender issues is reflected in their work environment, while only 33% of women with 15+ years of experience do.

Do you think your company could potentially name a woman as its CEO within the next 5 years?

Results by Degree

Degree

% Who answered 'Yes'

No Degree

41%

Bachelor

40%

Master

41%

MBA

23%

The unbridgeable gap between senior management and executive level: Women with an MBA, who often work in the upper ranks of their company's management, are almost twice less likely than others to think that their company could name a female CEO in the next 5 years (23% of female employees with an MBA  think it is likely, against 40% of those with a bachelor degree). Seeing how career progression happens in the upper echelons of their company seems to make them realise how distant the CEO positions are for women in senior management.

After taking a maternity leave, would you or did you go back to work in the same industry?

Results by Industry

Industry

% Who Answered 'Yes'

Insurance

82%

Financial Services

77%

Consumer Goods

76%

Manufacturing & Industrials

76%

Consulting & Professional Services

74%

Law Practice

73%

Public sector

69%

Construction & Real Estate

67%

Media & Communication

67%

Energy, Mining, Chemicals

58%

Apps, Web, eCommerce

57%

Technology & Telecoms

56%

Charity & Not For Profit

47%

Retail

47%

Pharmaceuticals & Biotech

40%

Are stability and money more valued than flexibility by young parents? Female professionals in industries like consulting and financial services, with notoriously long hours, still overwhelmingly say that they will go back to work in the same sector after taking a maternity break (77% of financial services professionals, 74% of consultancies employees). At the opposite end of the spectrum, in industries like retail and charity, less than half the female professionals say they would go back to work in that industry (47% in both sectors). The reasons might be that these industries are among the worst paying ones for women and they do not offer the stability that others with similar pay levels do.

Michaela Rosbrook, Founder of Wessex Partners, said:

"This study shows that when gender inequalities exist within a company, employees always end-up discovering them. In this day and age, no company can expect to hide a gender pay gap behind high salaries and opaque pay policies, nor can they reasonably expect their senior female employees to be unaware of the glass ceiling when they are confronted to it everyday."

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