The pay gap is particularly led by an “unnecessary focus” on existing salary when negotiating pay, according to a survey by Global Accounting Network.
The recruiter said that while the gender pay gap at chartered and qualified accountant level is 5.1%, it widens significantly among financial managers and directors (31.6%).
At this senior role level, women earn an annual average of £42,674 while men earn £71,986, making it a difference of £29,312 a year.
Adrian O’Connor, founding director at Global Accounting Network, said, “When women are being paid significantly less in the same or similar roles, employers must reflect on current practices to understand why.
O’Connor added that, when females return to work after a career break, the institutional practice of basing new job offers on incremental increases on their previous salary can prevent them from catching up as quickly as they perhaps should.
“‘How much do you currently earn?’ is a standard interview question, but the practice means that existing pay gaps can persist as individuals move roles. If employers continue to ask current salary the cycle will never be broken and even companies that are non-discriminatory can be unconsciously perpetuating the gap,” he said.
As a result, the recruiter suggested job offers should be made solely on how a candidate benchmarks and on what their value is to the business, rather than as a percentage increase on existing pay.
“Regardless of gender, as any professional steps up the career ladder, their salary should be directly aligned with their ability to do the job,” O’Connor added.