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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
February 22, 2018

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Exclusive: Gender pay gap is double UK average for HSE professionals


A survey of health and safety professionals has revealed that the gender pay gap is double the UK average.

The report, undertaken by consultancy Acre with SHP as a media partner, revealed the alarming figures that female HSE professionals earned 82% of their male counterparts – an 18% gap, which is double the UK average of 9%.

It also found despite a large number of women entering the sector, it was still heavily stilted with a ratio of 3:1 in favour of men – or 76% male to 24% female.

Women on average earned £49,000 across the health and safety sector, whereas men are currently earning around £60,000.

Doing it in heels

Speaking about the findings, Pamela McInroy, diversity and inclusion manager for High Speed Two (HS2), said: “However shocking the stats, at least we know where we stand.

“We need for companies and leaders in industries with the highest disparity to start changing the conversation form, ‘this is what is going on…’ to ‘how do we fix this?’

“Women cannot change or fix this on their own. We need men and women in senior leadership positions to recognise that women are undervalued to the point that we are willing to work for far less than our male counterparts doing the exact same job. Only we’re doing it in heels’.”

Martin Coyd, head of health and safety for construction at Mace, commented that great organisations ‘tend to value diversity’ and the modern world meant working with and servicing customers with ‘a broad mix of cultures, values and aspirations’.

He said: “We need to listen more. We need to embrace change. We must give permission to fail (we’ll learn more from failure than taking easy wins).

“We need to have fun. Above all, we need to recognise the value of having women in senior positions and remove barriers wherever they stand.”

Other results

Other significant finds of the survey included a North/South salary gap, which was the same as the gender gap at £11,000.

On a positive note, the vast majority of employees were either satisfied or very satisfied in their role – at nearly two-thirds of those polled (64%).

Only 11% of HSE professionals were unsatisfied in their role.

Additionally, with mental health resources being a big issue for the sector, the vast majority of professionals believed they had access to thetools within their firms to succeed in this element of their role – 73%.

Highly skilled

The industry is also highly skilled with relevant qualifications, as 76% of respondents to the survey are educated to Level 6 diploma level, or above.

Speaking about the pay gap between north and south, director of health and safety at Turner and Townsend, Peter McGettrick, said: “While some areas are in the lower bracket, both Glasgow and Edinburgh stand out as better remunerated areas; outside London, but equivalent to cities such as Manchester, Bristol and Southampton.”

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6 years ago

I think the research did not take into consideration whether:
1) The type of job the person does (administrator, advisor or manager)
2) The industry they work is high-risk or low-risk environment.
3) What type of qualifications they had.
4) The number of years of experience.
5) Any other skills that make someone more effective.
I am sure there are other factors that I did not list there. For the above-mentioned reasons, I do not think that this research is valid. Finally, I think gender pay gap is difficult to measure and it should not be politicised.

Mr B J Man
Mr B J Man
6 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Those are just the most obvious reasons for a gap, which would be much bigger if it wasn’t for the fact that women do better academically and so get more qualifications; single, childless unmarried, and gay women have earned more than men for decades now; and young women under 30, and now under 35, have earned more than men for years now; for the same age, qualifications, and experience. It’s a simple fact that most women not only have babies while no men do, but that most women take maternity leave while few men take long term, if any, paternity… Read more »

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
6 years ago
Reply to  Sam

I agree, the article is at best inflammatory at worst exaggerated. The ‘alarming’ disparity between male and female pay is 18%. I would have thought this is not unreasonable given that most of those working in h&s are male, therefore most of the managers and other senior positions would also be male – reflecting the pay gap. Simples really.