How Ireland's gender pay gap only widens with experience

New Morgan McKinley study shows Irish women are earning 20% less than men on average...

How Ireland's gender pay gap only widens with experience

Gemma Arterton (centre) with original Dagenham women strikers and the cast of the musical Made in Dagenham during a photocall outside the Houses of Parliament, London, to coincide with a Labour bid to force big firms to publish the difference in pay between male and female employees in the UK. Picture by Yui Mok PA Archive/PA Images

Irish women are paid an average of 20% less than Irish men, according to a new study from Morgan McKinley.

It found that men in professional jobs earn €12,500 more than women once bonuses and salaries are taken into account.

When the two are split, the average salary gap stands at 16% while the bonus gap goes up as high as 50%.

Not only that, the gender pay gap was found to actually be wider for women who have high levels of education and experience.

Women with under five years' experience earn 12% less than their male colleagues, with the gap widening to 28% for women with over 15 years' experience.

While women with a degree earn 10% less on average, those who go on to complete a masters degree will earn 33% less than men with the same qualifications.

Karen O'Flaherty, chief operations officer at Morgan McKinley, says employers and individual women have a role to play in reducing the gender pay gap:

"It's about employers having the visibility and the transparency within their organisation to look at the different levels and see who's being promoted and the different educational attainments that they get at each stage.

"Secondly, it's addressing and maybe asking the question as to why certain females don't go for certain positions when men have."

The gap is widest in the financial services sector, at 29%. The tech and professional services sectors have the lowest gap, between 3% and 8%.

Looking at the geographic breakdown, the average gender pay gap is significantly higher for male professionals in Dublin than it is in Cork or other regional locations. Men in Cork are paid on average €55,500, while those based in Dublin earn €63,500, representing a 13% differential. The gender pay gap is revered between women based in Cork and in Dublin shows females in Cork earning 1% greater than their Dublin counterparts.

The study states that the pay gap is higher in the capital for two main reasons. 

Firstly, the dominant industries in each of the cities and, secondly, the location of senior management. Financial services, which has the highest pay gap, is the main professional industry in Ireland with 19% of all professionals employed in this sector. It also has a greater proportion of employers and positions in Dublin than any other location nationally. The most represented industry in Cork is technology & telecoms, with a gap of 7% in this sector.

Another factor cited in the study is flexibility of working hours.

A Eurostat report published in March of this year found that close to 40% of working mothers with two children or more are on part–time contracts.

In the EU as a whole, part-time working accounts for only 6% of male employment but 33.3% of female employment, with the figures for Ireland trending the same.

A study conducted by Citrix last year found that approximately 3,000 new mothers leave the workforce each year due to the cost of childcare and over 8,200 mothers returned to work last year looking for more flexible hours.

Morgan McKinley partnered with global salary benchmarking experts Emolument.com to collate the salary data from more than 5,500 professionals working in Ireland, through an online survey. 

Suggested potential solutions to the problem include addressing the diversity issue in recruitment, the introduction of family-friendly work practices and focusing on metoring femla professionals