Could below inflation pay rises widen the gender pay gap?

A new survey from CIPHR finds that women are more likely than men to get below inflation pay rises. As inflation increases, will that widen the gender pay gap?

Gender Pay Gap


The gender pay gap could increase given women are less likely than men to have been awarded a salary increase that is in line with or above the rate of inflation for 2022, according to a new survey.

The survey by HR and payroll software provider CIPHR found only 14% had been awarded a salary increase in line with or above inflation compared to 22% of men.

Of the women who had received a pay rise to date, two-fifths (40%) said it was below inflation. Just a third (32%) of the men who received a pay rise said the same.

CIPHR says that the data related to the 5,062 employers who have published their gender pay gap figures for the 2021-22 ahead of this year’s deadline [31st March from public sector organisations and 5th April for private employers] shows over three-quarters (77%) of organisations pay their male employees more than their female employees. Only one in seven (13.4%) pay women more and only one in 10 organisations (9.6%) reports having no pay gap. The average median hourly pay gap, which these calculations are based on, is 11.9%.

Further analysis of CIPHR’s pay rise survey results, based on a poll of 1,001 employees last month, suggests that pay isn’t the only gender disparity at work.

Aside from the significant difference in how men and women perceived their last pay rise (41% of men thought that it was fair, compared to just 32% of women), men also appear to have access to more flexible working options. When asked whether they had been offered a flexible working location by their employer, only a third (34%) of women said yes compared to over two-fifths (42%) of men.

Less than a third (29%) of the women surveyed work mostly from home, while over a third (37%) of men do. Conversely, nearly three-quarters (71%) of women work mostly onsite at their employer’s work premises, compared to around three in five (63%) men. This could be due to an individual’s personal preference, but also because many jobs can’t be done remotely.

According to the findings, women are, at least statistically, less likely than men to be offered any of the following by their employer: a four-day work week (offered to 13% of women and 23% of men); entitlement to set their own hours and working schedule (offered to 21% of women and 29% of men); entitlement to work remotely from abroad on a temporary or permanent basis (offered to 9% of women and 25% of men); and unlimited paid holidays (offered to 7% of women and 16% of men).

The only exception was flexible working hours, which was offered to 48% of men and women equally.

Moreover, only one in four (25%) women agree with the statement that ‘employees and job seekers are in the driving seat when it comes to negotiating salaries, benefits and flexible working’, despite most (66%) employers thinking that they are.

Younger workers are the most likely to feel in control of their career, with 43% of men and 35% of women aged 18-24 years old agreeing that employees and job seekers are ‘in the driving seat’. As do over a third (35%) of men aged 35-54 years old. More experienced female workers are less inclined to agree, however, as just a quarter (25%) of women aged 35-54 years-old think that they are ‘in the driving seat’.

The least confident group in this regard are male workers aged over-55. Nearly nine in 10 (88%) of them think that it’s their employer who is firmly ‘in the driving seat’ at work.

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