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 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%.
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.”
Promote equality in the health and safety profession
Why are women falling behind in health and safety leadership roles? Immediately following Steph McGovern's keynote speech, Women in Health & Safety, led by Group Risk Director at ITV Ruth Denyer, explores the challenges facing women in the profession. She will discuss:
- Collaborating with the business and supporting strategic objectives – not saying ‘no’
- Knowing how to land a message
- Making safety accessible using technology and the right language
- Confidence, knowing what you want and going for it
Following the keynote, Women in Health & Safety will lead a ‘speed networking’ session. Get your free ticket to Safety & Health Expo | ExCeL London | Tuesday 18 June | 12:45 - 15:15
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