THURSDAY 1 SEP 2016 12:37 PM


The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published research suggesting that women who have children are paid on average 18% less than their male counterparts, upon returning to work after maternity leave.

This is a downward trend, with the IFS findings indicating how this condition actually worsens, the longer the time period during which a woman has returned to work. The BBC reports that, over the subsequent 12 years post-maternity leave, a woman’s hourly pay rate falls 33% below what would be expected of a man.

Evidence also suggests that this gap exists in part due to women choosing less hours, in less demanding roles, once starting a family.

However, the 2015/16 State of the Profession study, carried out by the CIPR, found that gender inequality persisted across most senior levels in PR. The study also showed that women over the age of 35 were the most likely to suffer negatively, as a consequence of employment inequality.

In a press release, president of the CIPR and managing partner of communications and social media agency, Rule 5, Rob Brown, says, “As an industry that is two-thirds female, we need to ensure that we do not discriminate. Providing support to women returning from maternity leave at all stages will help the industry retain the talent it needs to continue its drive towards professionalisation. I'd urge those with management responsibilities to familiarise themselves the CIPR's best practice maternity leave guidance.”

Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and XpertHR also found that the pay gap exists because of men being 40% likely to be promoted to senior managerial roles. Naturally, this leads to higher pay and better promotion prospects.

Brown continues, “We need to create an inclusive and supportive environment for those going on maternity leave. That's why the CIPR has a maternity package in place for members, which includes a payment holiday and discretionary CPD points, as well as guidance to help members manage the challenges of maternity leave.”

From 2017, government legislation requires any organisation of over 250 employees to publish the numbers of men and women in each pay range, and highlight any unexplained gaps in pay between gender.