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UK Finance Pay Disparity ‘a Cause for Concern for all Companies’ as Women Paid 23% Less Than Men

Spend management solution provider for SMEs, Spendesk, has revealed that progress toward true pay equality remains slow – and disparity between male and female professionals in the same finance roles remains at large.

Spendesk collaborated with global finance community CFO Connect, to analyse the salaries of business finance leaders of all levels across Europe and the US. The survey revealed that the average overall finance salary in the US is £167,030 – almost double Europe’s average of £87,813. Meanwhile, the UK’s £105,604 average emerged as Europe’s highest.

In the UK, pay disparity remains a huge issue. Women are paid around 23 per cent less than men in the same finance roles. While this figure is seven per cent less than in 2022 (30 per cent), it highlights that UK pay equality is falling further behind other countries – which have less disparity.

Pay equality still has a way to go in Europe and the US. Combined, women in these regions earn 12 per cent less than their male counterparts on average – a one per cent improvement since Spendesk’s 2022 survey.  This discrepancy is also reflected in job satisfaction, with two-thirds of men feeling that they are fairly compensated, versus 59 per cent of women.

The pay gap is different depending on roles, with senior positions being more closely aligned. For example, the average salary across Europe and the US for a female chief finance officer (CFO) is £121,241, whereas the male equivalent averages at £122,870 – a gap of only 1.3 per cent.

In contrast, at the mid-level, the pay gap is turned around with female heads of finance earning 6.1 per cent more than their male counterparts –  £84,823 (female) versus £79,660 (male).

Discovering the impact of economy on mental health

Seventy-three per cent of finance leaders feel the current economic climate has had an impact on their mental health. However, only six per cent said the impact was substantial.

The Spendesk survey also found that more women appear to be affected (80 per cent) than men (70 per cent), regarding the current economic climate.

German finance professionals emerged as the most confident, with 37 per cent of them stating that their mental health is ‘not impacted at all’ by the current economic context. The UK was found to be the most affected region, with 81 per cent of finance professionals being affected in some way.

Rodolphe Ardant Spendesk on UK Pay Disparity
Rodolphe Ardant, founder and CEO of Spendesk

Rodolphe Ardant, founder and CEO of Spendesk, discussed the survey findings: “It’s encouraging to see a slight decrease in the gender pay gap, but of course, we would rather not have any gap at all. This should be a cause for concern for all companies. We need to see more determined action to achieve genuine pay parity. Employers who fail to guarantee appropriate equitable remuneration risk losing the very best talent, which then risks the growth and survival of their business.

“Now, in the context of years of economic instability, we also see real mental health impacts on finance professionals. We can’t ignore this. We all aspire to create work environments that are open, fulfilling, productive, and enjoyable for our teams. It’s time for companies to recognise the critical importance of pay equity and mental well-being, and take concrete steps to foster a healthy, inclusive work culture.”

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