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September 25, 2014

Management accountants not spared by gender pay gap

By Isabella Grotto

Gender pay gaps persist in many areas of the industry and are particularly marked in the US, a salary survey by the US Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has found.

The survey, which includes respondents from the Americas (non-US), Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, showed that women’s remuneration fails to match that of their male colleagues in almost all areas.

Globally, figures showed the mean total compensation for women totalled 83% of men’s, while Asia performed the worst with women earning almost a third less than their male colleagues.

Europe provided the only exception, with women’s salaries actually slightly exceeding men’s.

In the Middle East and Africa mean total compensation was 17% higher for men, while in the Americas women earn 9% less.

With the exclusion of the US, the mean total figure for men worldwide was $63,604 compared to $52,512 for women.

Base salary figures confirmed the discrepancy between male and female employees: men earned an average of $46,598 globally, almost $5,000 more than their female colleagues.

However, despite a picture of persisting inequality at higher levels, entry level position salaries show decreasing levels of gender disparity.

Median figures reflected a more even picture, with women’s salaries often closely approaching and even exceeding men’s.

According to the IMA, the discrepancy between median and mean "can be interpreted as indicating a pay gap in the past that now doesn’t exist at the entry-level position."

The survey proclaimed its outlook for the future as optimistic: "With labour markets tightening in countries such as China, it will become increasingly difficult to pay men and women differently."

One step forward, two back in the USIn the US, however, the gender pay gap presented statistically insignificant changes compared to 2012, with women earning 78.9% in salary and 75.8% in total compensation, compared to men.

Indeed, the total compensation gap in 2013 was larger than in 2007, leading the IMA to conclude that "gains from the time period have been reversed."

In dollar terms, the difference in total compensation decreased slightly from $39,994 in 2012 to $33,298 in 2013.

A further contributing factor to the salary gap can be found in the number of men and women on top salaries. Whereas 19% of male survey respondents reported earnings above $150,000, only 6% of women did. Conversely, "the proportion of women exceeds the proportion of men in all categories below $90,000", the survey stated.

The IMA concluded that "virtually across the board, women’s compensation is less than men’s, and these differences are statistically significant" and added that in the US "the "salary gap" between women and men remains a fact of life."

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