Survey reveals global pay gap

2006

India may be reaping the rewards of its economic boom, but when it comes to what it pays senior managers, it is still the bottom of the pile.

A new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting has found that companies in the US continue to pay the highest base salaries and annual total cash for finance and marketing directors, with those in India paying the lowest.

The survey - covering pay for finance, marketing and HR directors in 14 countries worldwide - found that finance and marketing directors in America earn five times more than their counterparts in India, while HR directors earn over three times as much.

Mercer's Steve Gross said that salaries and annual total cash are generally higher in the US because there is greater competition for talent and employers must pay more for top employees.

"Factors such as retention costs, availability of skills, and productivity influence market rates and determine what an organization must pay to attract and retain talent in the respective locations," he said.

According to the figures, US-based finance directors are the highest paid, earning US$250,000 on average, followed by those in Canada and the UK, who receive around US$186,400 and US$180,300 respectively.

Their counterparts in Hong Kong, Italy, and Germany also earn above-average base pay, at US$168,500, US$159,000, and US$154,400.

Annual total cash for finance directors follows the same pattern as base pay. US-based finance directors are the highest paid, earning annual total cash of US$324,600 on average, followed by those in Canada and the UK, who receive approximately US$262,700 and US$236,600, respectively.

At the lower end of the spectrum, finance directors in Hungary and India receive less than average for this position – earning a base salary of approximately US$59,800 and US$53,800. Average base pay for this role in Poland is US$108,200.

"In many organizations, finance directors are the second-highest-paid individuals, receiving only slightly less than the CEO," said Mercer's Mark Edelsten.

"The scope of their role has widened in recent years as new regulatory burdens and risk management responsibilities make them increasingly accountable for company governance."

Base pay for marketing directors ranges between US$203,100 in the US and US$40,000 in India. Marketing directors in the US are followed by those in Italy and the UK, who are paid around US$169,100 and US$167,800.

Marketing directors in the US also receive the most annual total cash, followed by those in the UK, Germany, and Italy.

"Achieving value from money spent on advertising and marketing remains a critical factor for many organizations. The high levels of pay for marketing directors in some countries reflects the fact that marketing and brand management are now considered key to enhancing company performance," Edelsten added.

HR directors emerged as the lowest paid of the three positions. The best paid HR directors are found in the US, UK, and Germany, where employees can earn US$175,000, US$161,900, and US$160,500 respectively. Annual total cash for this position is highest in Germany, at US$227,500, followed by US$219,000 in the US and US$202,500 in the UK.

Again, employees in this position working in Hungary and India earn significantly less annual base pay than in those in other countries – receiving around US$57,100 and US$47,900 respectively.

But as Steve Gross pointed out, bonuses increase pay significantly for many positions.

"Although HR directors in the US receive the highest salaries, those in Germany are paid most in terms of annual total cash," he added.

"This reflects the value placed on HR directors in steering their companies and dealing with the various works councils."

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