A group of UK business leaders has announced it is conducting an online survey and asking 100,000 women to provide insight into their work experiences in an effort to unravel the gender pay gap that exists between men and women in their 30s and beyond.
Opportunity Now, a campaign backed by businesses to promote gender diversity in the workplace, is launching the survey to reveal the disproportionate promotion rate between men and women.
The survey comes in the midst of growing concern about a rising percentage of women being absent from middle management positions, contributing to the gender pay gap.
Women in their 20s earn nearly as much as men, but the gender pay gap begins to widen when women approach their 30s. By age 45, women earn an average of 28 per cent less than their male counterparts.
According to Helena Morrissey, fund manager and chair of Opportunity Now, women between the age of 28 and 42 are in the “danger zone.”
Morrissey said, “Twenty-eight to 40 is a critical age for career development where at the moment women fail to be promoted at the same rate as men – a problem for women and companies. This survey, the largest ever undertaken globally, will help us all really understand the reasons behind the current imbalance. We could just plough on, but I think we must be off-target with some of the things we are doing.”
The survey is currently live and can be accessed for one month at www.project2840.com. The survey is sponsored by chief executives from a number of FTSE 100 companies, including Rolls Royce, Barclays, and GSK. It is also being backed by the British Army, London Fire Brigade, and the heads of nearly every government department.
While Opportunity Now and the survey’s sponsors are particularly interested in understanding the work and life experiences of women between the ages of 28 and 40, younger and older women are also being encouraged to participate.
Morrissey, who is the mother of nine children, proclaimed she is hopeful that the results of the survey will boost “returnship” schemes in order to provide women with routes to re-enter the labour force after taking a career break.
Research gathered from a number of studies show that the majority of women tend to get caught on the “mummy track,” and they return to work only to experience diminished pay and a lack of employment prospects.