Profile: Sir Charlie Mayfield

John Lewis Partnership Chairman

Gender inequality exists in market research too

Female executives are paid less than men according to the Chartered Management Institute’s study released last week, and these findings are echoed in a new report into the market research sector.

Mindi Chahal

It is not the case that the public are unaware of gender inequality, but the extent of the problem is surprising.

A report conducted by Women in Research (WIRe) in collaboration with Research-live.com into women in the research industry surveyed over 600 males and females working in the sector and found that income disparity exists between genders regardless of seniority level.

The research also reveals the industry is predominantly female at a junior and mid level but skews increasingly male as you move up the corporate ladder. Differences also occur with employees’ comfort in asking for a raise and the perceived competitiveness of their pay.

The issue is that any discrimination, which might be clear from looking at reports and research, is not overtly seen in the workplace. The report shows that neither males nor females feel they are being discriminated against, and are evenly satisfied with their careers.

However, children and the family become an obstacle for many females in advancing their career, motivation, and opportunity and female parents do not feel that pregnancy is supported by their employers, according to the research.

Along these lines the report shows female CEOs are more supportive of pregnancy among their employees and satisfaction is higher among those working under female CEOs.

Market Research Society chief executive Jane Frost says: “Women don’t ask for pay rises and focus on research rather than management. This is despite the fact that people who are managed by women were found to be happier than those managed by men. On a more optimistic note, it is worthwhile registering the positive impact our research showed for female CEOs.”

Frost recommends the work of the Mentoring Foundation, Opportunity Now and UKRC, previously Women in Science and Engineering, with their practical, low-cost approaches to promoting equality, many of which concentrate on building confidence for women and simply creating self-awareness in senior management.

Of course, it is only when research highlights problem areas that companies and employees can act.

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