Mentoring and 'hard work' is needed to overcome inequality in the workplace, say female executives, after a new study showed that the average female company executive earns more than £400,000 less than a male counterpart over her career.
A survey by the Chartered Management Institute showed that the average gender pay gap is more than £10,000 a year, while women receive less than half what men are given in bonus payments.
Responding to the figures, female executives said they showed that inequality was still "rife" and stressed the need for initiatives such as mentoring to help women overcome the "opportunities gap" that exists in the workplace, as well as the pay gap.
Baroness Prosser, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “The gender pay and opportunities gaps are intrinsically linked. The opportunities gap leads to the lack of advance for women through the executive pipeline and this in turn provides for the gender pay gap."
She (SNP: ^SHEY - news) added that the onus was "squarely on employers to redress the balance", but that female executives should also look to make the most of the practical support available to them from bodies such as Women in Management Networks.
= 'Inequality is still rife' =
Penny de Valk, chief executive of Fairplace, said the study showed that "inequality is still rife in the workplace as top female talent is being, often unintentionally, filtered out by outdated career models and a failure on the side of companies to engage with women’s ambitions and help realise their full potential".
“Part of the problem is that too high a value is still being placed on stereotyped, typically masculine leadership characteristics and this means many women find it hard to identify with current norms of ‘success’," she added.
She went on to say that many women are "throttling back their ambitions" and stressed the need for " more female role models in top positions" as well as better mentoring and coaching practices to fuel female ambitions.
That echoed comments made last month by Cynthia Carroll, who is stepping down as chief executive of FTSE 100 (FTSE Index: EO100.FGI - news) miner Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) . She told Telegraph Wonder Women that companies need to focus on ensuring there is a "pipeline of young women coming up who are being developed and have potential to rise to the top of a large organisation".
She added there was a need to have mentors and people who would support women to succeed.
= 'Try to find a mentor' =
Barbara Singer Thomas, chair of the Pension Protection Fund, also highlighted the importance of mentoring. “I believe that women who want to advance in their careers should be very serious and well prepared, try to find a mentor, work very hard and let their employers understand that they are looking for a really long term career and not just ‘a job’,” she said.
Commenting on how women can get ahead in the workplace, Dame Lynne Brindley, former chief executive of the British Library, said: "Doing a great job is necessary but not sufficient - build a strong internal and external network ; be as visible as possible; and continuously learn from your experiences and develop yourself.”
Liz Jackson, managing director of Great Guns Marketing, added: “Hard work meets opportunity. The difference between people who do well and those who don’t is that successful individuals grab opportunities when they see them; they don’t hesitate to push themselves forward or into situations, and they don’t let go of opportunities until they’ve seen them through to fruition."
For the inside track from a woman at the top, follow Telegraph Wonder Women's Secret Diary of a Board Babe .