The gender gap: Men and women's pay

12th March 2012


Related Topics

Related tags

  • CPD ,
  • Qualifications ,
  • Ethics ,
  • Skills ,
  • Sustainability

Author

IEMA

The IEMA practitioners' survey 2012 reveals that the difference between men and women's pay in the environment profession is smaller than the UK national average

Environment management does not have the image of being a male-dominated profession in the way that health and safety management does. But the environment management and assessment field is still weighted in favour of male professionals, according to our survey findings.

Of the 2,026 respondents who answered the question on gender, 61.5% are men (1,245) and 38.5% women (781). By comparison, a recent survey of health and safety management professionals published in Health and Safety at Work magazine established a 78%/22% split in favour of men.

Reducing the gap between men and women’s pay has been a public policy imperative for many years and the latest official figures from the 2011 ASHE show that the headline gender pay gap, based on the preferred measure of hourly pay, narrowed from 10.1% in 2010 to 9.1% in 2011.

This is progress for women in work, but there is still much to be done to eradicate the gender pay differential. The ASHE pegged median annual earnings for men at £28,409 and £22,910 for women – considerably greater than the 9.1% gap reported for hourly pay.

Analysing our own pay data for full-time environment professionals, we find median total earnings of £38,000 for men and £32,700 for women. This equates to a 13.9% pay gap. Although this is significantly narrower than found in the ASHE earnings data, which put the wage differential at 19.4%, there is no room for complacency as the gap remains fairly large.

Female respondents may take a small measure of comfort from the results of IEMA’s salary survey in 2007. Then, the median total earnings for men and women were £37,000 and £29,500 respectively – a 20.3% pay gap for women. The 2012 pay gender gap is also much less than the male/female differential in last year’s practitioners’ survey, when men’s median earnings were £38,500 and women’s were £31,000, a difference of 19.5%.

An important caveat in considering the wide earnings gap between male and female environment professionals in our sample is that the age distribution of the sexes varies enormously.

As was the case in last year’s IEMA survey, the female age profile is biased towards the younger end of the age spectrum: 54.5% of female members are below the age of 35, compared with 27.3% of male respondents.

Figure 5 (Earnings by highest qualification) demonstrates that the median annual total earnings increase with age. They peak for men when aged between 40 and 44, while a woman’s earning capacity tends to plateau from the early 30s to the mid-40s, before rising again between the ages of 45 and 49.

As younger individuals dominate the female membership profile, this may skew female earnings towards the lower end of the pay spectrum and result in a wider gender pay gap than is actually the case in the profession as a whole.

When we look in detail at salaries for men and women across the age ranges, as shown in table 4 (below), we can see wide variation in the pay gap according to age bracket.

For example, in the youngest age range, 21–24, there is a negative pay differential of –9.5%, with female environment professionals earning £2,000 more than their male colleagues.

This pattern is reversed in all other age brackets, with a pay gap ranging from 2.9%, at age 30–34, to 19.5% at 60–64 years of age. It should be noted that women are under-represented in this latter age bracket and so the figures should be treated with caution.


Read the full survey results:

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Fake news

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

Rivers and waterways across England and Wales are increasingly polluted by sewage spills. What is causing the crisis and what is being done to tackle it? Huw Morris reports

31st May 2024

Read more

In January, the Welsh government consulted on a proposed white paper, 'Securing a Sustainable Future: Environmental Principles, Governance and Biodiversity Targets for a Greener Wales'.

31st May 2024

Read more

Gillian Gibson calls for urgent action to avoid environmental tipping points

20th May 2024

Read more

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close