Women directors work longer for less

2006

Female directors of British businesses work longer than their male counterparts but earn on average 19 per cent less - the equivalent of more than £14,000 a year - new research has suggested.

The "R£ward" study of 3,815 jobs in 1,000 organisations for the Institute of Directors by consultancy Croner found that the female director now earned an average of £60, 000 compared with the average male director's basic pay of £74, 028.

The biggest gaps appeared in the private services and voluntary sectors, where female pay was 25 per cent below that of their male counterparts.

In the private sector, this meant an average salary of £55, 000 for a female director compared with £74, 440 for a man.

In the voluntary sector, the average salary for female directors was £47,840 compared with £64,500 for a male director.

To make matters worse, female managing directors in medium and large companies were also working longer hours than their male counterparts – 51.25 hours per week, against 50 hours for men in small to medium sized companies and 57 hours a week compared with 55 in larger companies.

A quarter of business bosses worked more of 55 hours a week, with few taking their full holiday entitlement.

The average number of holiday days not taken was five, rising to 10 in small companies and to eight in medium and large companies.

Contrary to the perceptions of many working Britons, the vast majority of non-executive directors were not raking in vast salaries or increases, the survey also found.

In small companies, the average pay per day was £1, 020, for medium companies it was £867 and for those working in larger companies it was £2, 080.

On average nearly a quarter of non-executive directors worked for no pay, while 42 per cent had no pay increase last year, against 13 per cent in 2005.

For those that did get an increase, the average rise was 3 per cent.

Miles Templeman, IoD director-general, said: "The R£ward survey demonstrates that, beyond the headlines, the reality of working life in Boardroom Britain is that average pay increases, at 3.2 per cent, are moderate and directors are working longer hours.

"Significant numbers do not take their holiday entitlement and there are large disparities in regional pay. To add further cause for concern, the issue of the gender gap is not resolved," he added.

"Even those who break through the glass ceiling and reach board level will find there is another roof over their heads.

"The pay gap has often been justified on the basis that women work shorter hours. Our survey refutes that suggestion. Not only are women directors being paid less, they are also working longer hours," he concluded.