Procurement Pay Gap? - Procurement People
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Procurement Pay Gap?

As a recruitment business, we here at Procurement People have been following the recent information released regarding the BBC salaries with a lot of interest – in particular the disparity between the organisation’s male and female stars. Working in recruitment, we end up discussing salaries, packages and promotions more than most, and it made us consider our own insight into the Procurement market and what can be done to impact the battle for equal pay for equal work.

Of the BBC's list of 96 best-paid employees, the top seven earners were all male, and women only made up a third of the list overall. In addition, Claudia Winkleman, who was the top paid female presenter, earned between £450,000 and £500,000, while the best paid man, Chris Evans, took home between £2.2m and £2.25m. Naturally, the BBC has come under some intense scrutiny since these figures were released, and are now looking at ways to address the discrepancy.

Compared to the UK average, the BBC overall is still faring better than most, but still with a long way to go – BBC Director General Lord Hall said that, compared with an 18% gap in pay between genders across the UK, the BBC pay gap across the corporation as a whole was 10%. But it is clearly in the more senior roles where the gap is most noticeable, and where the most work needs to be done.

This trend is clearly mirrored in the Procurement industry. The most recent CIPS Salary Survey noted that:

“At the advanced professional level, the average salary for a man was reported at £82,000, compared with a woman's £65,700 – a 25% difference. The most striking disparity was at the same level in the public sector, where men earned an average 30% more than women, giving a salary of £72,700 for men compared with £56,000 for women.”

“At other levels the disparity was smaller, between 2-7%, according to Hays. In some roles, the report found women earning more than men: female procurement executives, supply chain planners and assistant procurement/contract officers earned an average 9% more than male equivalents.”

Andrew Coulcher, director of membership and knowledge at CIPS said that, while procurement is somewhat ahead of the national curve and the disparity was closing every year, the changes were still not occurring quickly enough.

“Men earn an average of a quarter more than women at an advanced level—that’s a shocking statistic in a profession that prides itself on moving away from the stereotypes of old”

As recruiters, we have always very proudly been an equal opportunities employer – when we discuss potential candidates with clients, gender, race or faith has never been a factor in our shortlists – we always present the best candidates for the job, no matter their background. Equally, within our business we operate a transparent structure – we work to a real meritocracy and everyone in the business is aware of how much their peers earn.

It is encouraging that the procurement industry is a lot further ahead than the UK as a whole, and a difference of 2-7% is well ahead of the 18% annual pay gap. The BBC have stated that they aim to have closed the pay gap by 2020, but this is something that employers can look to impact immediately, and there is no reason why it should take 3 years to reach.

So what can we do to further this course? Is salary transparency the answer? What more can we do to ensure more of a female representation in senior level positions? I would be genuinely interested in everyone’s thoughts as to the best strategy, and as a real hot topic it would be great to hear of your own experiences in the workplace!

By Chris Bradley, Consultant.