Picture: 123RF/HYEJIN KANG
Picture: 123RF/HYEJIN KANG

London— Top female executives in the UK are nearing their male colleagues in pay since new rules for reporting compensation went into effect, yet the gap remains wider than the global average.

British women in senior executive positions received 12% less than male counterparts as of September, compared with a 22% deficit in March, according to a worldwide analysis by executive search firm Leathwaite. The pay gap for upper managers in the rest of the world was also roughly halved in the same period, to 8.7%.

UK firms are responding to a new law that since April has compelled those with at least 250 employees to report average differences between men’s and women’s hourly and bonus pay. The US also saw a narrowing of the gap after some states banned companies from asking prospective employees about their current pay in an effort to halt persisting inequities.

“These laws have put gender pay firmly under the spotlight,” James Rust, a founding partner at Leathwaite, said in a statement. “There is still much work to be done to create parity, but the speed and direction of the trend is a very positive sign.”

The US has had the most success shrinking the gender gap in executive pay, with women now receiving just 2% less than men, down from 8% according to the survey of 7,700 employees making more than $100,000 annually.

Yet men still globally monopolise top jobs in the majority of industries, the survey found, and stark inequalities remain among CEOs. Female CEOs still receive 31% less than men in the same posts, compared with 52% less six months ago.

Leathwaite found the discrepancy between men and women in the technology sector had actually reversed since March with women now receiving on average 9% more than men. In the finance industry, however, the trend moved the other way with men paid about 7% more than women in September, compared with 3.1% more in March.

Beyond senior executives, the gender pay gap in the UK has shrunk from 18.6% last year to 17.9% among all types of employees, the UK Office for National Statistics reported in October. The biggest changes were seen among MDs and senior officials, according to the report.