Female interim managers working in charities earned 15 per cent less than their male counterparts during the six months from June to December last year, new research shows.
Women charity interims earned an average of £466.50 a day compared with £537.50 per day for men.
The figures, released this week by recruitment agency Russam GMS, show that the disparity between men and women in the charity sector is twice as big as the difference between male and female interims generally.
Ian Joseph, head of the not-for-profit practice at Russam, said the scale of the disparity prompted the agency to investigate further, and it conducted a basic poll of a number of its charity interims.
“We wanted to find out if there was any difference in women’s and men’s attitudes to three different things – money, negotiation, and how prepared they were to reduce their rates in order to secure a job,” he said.
“But we found there was no difference between them at all in terms of the willingness to negotiate or be pragmatic and accept lower rates than they were used to.”
Higher-paid posts attract more men
Therefore, the only explanation Joseph could fathom for the disparity is that the roles that tend to be higher-paid, such as chief executive or finance director jobs, also tend to attract more male applicants.
“In my years of experience as a recruiter, shortlists for FDs are generally all or predominantly male, whereas interim jobs in HR or fundraising, which are not quite as well-paid, generally attract more women.
“That’s the only explanation I can think of,” said Joseph. “Of course fundamentally it’s wrong, and even worse that there is more disparity in a sector that espouses diversity and equality.”
The inequality of opportunity and reward between the genders has been thrust into the spotlight this week in a number of ways following International Women’s Day on Monday. Channel 4 has released a report showing that women are outnumbered two to one by men on TV; Gordon Brown has threatened “serious action” to force companies to appoint more female directors, and a coalition of charities led by the Fawcett Society has launched a ‘What about women?’ campaign to encourage the political parties to pay more attention to women voters in the election campaign.
However, the gender disparity in pay for charity interims comes against a backdrop of better news generally - overall pay for charity interims rose by 4 per cent over the six months. The study showed that the average daily rate in the voluntary sector rose from £499 in June 2009 to £521 in December 2009.