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Just a fifth of women have asked for pay rise in last three years

Companies need to work harder to pay women equally or risk damaging their business, according to new research from Randstad.

Female workers still lag behind their male counterparts when it comes to asking for a pay rise and climbing the corporate ladder, Randstad said. The research found that just a fifth of women had asked their boss for a raise in the last three years, compared to a third of men, and a quarter of men felt women had less chance of getting a pay rise than them.

Mark Bull, UK and Middle East managing director of Randstad, who commissioned the research, said, “This latest information has far-reaching implications for recruitment and reveals the challenges women still face in the workplace.

“Despite great leaps forward in equality and the gender pay gap being the narrowest it has ever been; women clearly still feel they are sometimes given the rough end of the deal compared to men. They are more reluctant to ask for a pay rise or promotion, fearing they might be penalised and they still feel men get more respect than them if they are promoted.

“Companies that don’t take notice of this and make it absolutely clear they offer equal pay and promotion will find themselves facing a reduced talent pool as women look for jobs elsewhere in firms that do offer such opportunities.”

More than three quarters of women had not asked for a pay rise in the last three years, according to the report. The number one reason for not asking was fear of endangering their existing job. Others were concerned about their boss’s reaction and having to justify themselves.

The survey featured 2000 men and women working full-time across a wide range of sectors. It revealed the inequality of wages in the working population is still so ingrained that almost a quarter of men still feel the are more likely to get a pay rise.

On average, women had received two pay rises in the last five years, whilst men had received three.

Bull added, “This entrenched culture needs to change or businesses will suffer – a poor reputation for employee pay and working conditions can be extremely damaging to a business’s corporate image, effectively discouraging the brightest candidates from even applying.

“Being equal does not mean being the same necessarily, but rather it is about companies acknowledging the talents of women equally with those of men. Women have a huge amount to offer companies and bring with them diversity and a fresh way of thinking which can only enhance a business’s performance.”

Randstad say that new legislation to force businesses to publish what bonuses they are paying staff and the average pay difference between men and women employees should help to redress the balance somewhat, but there is still a perception not enough is being done to get women into “top jobs” and 36% said a “glass ceiling” still exists.

More than a third of those asked felt employer attitudes were to blame for the lack of encouragement but Bull also felt women needed to be more confident as well.

He commented, “By building confidence in their female staff and empowering them to make decisions and progress, businesses will not only see increased productivity but will find they have a loyal and skilled workforce with higher staff retention rate.”

The research did reveal the march towards pay parity and gender equality is moving forward with 44% of workers confident the pay gap will eventually disappear.

Not everyone had to fight for a pay rise either with 57% of respondents being given one without even asking, an indication that businesses in some sectors are proactively encouraging both men and women.

A spokesman for Randstad said, “Across all industries we are seeing recruiters doing more and more to actively encourage and promote women. These latest results reveal, that although there is still work to be done, especially in higher level jobs, equality in the future is a realistic prospect.”

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