Female HR professionals earn 11% less than men
Women in the HR profession earn, on average, the equivalent of £4,534 less per person in cash terms, XpertHR's annual HR Salary Survey has revealed.
But the gender pay gap for the profession as a whole is almost entirely accounted for by differences in pay between men and women in the very top three levels of seniority, with male HR directors typically earning at least £19,000 more than their female counterparts - a gap of 13.8%.
Figures for all occupations drawn from the Government's official Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings puts the gender pay gap for full-time employees at 9.4% and for all employees at 19.2%.
The new data on the HR gender pay gap comes as the Government gears up to publish draft regulations setting out how employers must report on differences in men and women's pay.
Employers in the private, public and voluntary sectors with more than 250 employees will be required to report their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap, and provide commentary explaining how the gaps arise, as part of a wider set of measures "to eradicate gender pay inequality".
The XpertHR data shows that more junior female HR professionals earn on average a little more than men - a difference of 1.2% or £223 at entry level. But among established HR practitioners at the mid-level of the profession, men typically earn between 1.6% and 3.4% more.
Chart 1: HR gender pay gap
At senior management levels, however, the gap widens abruptly, with men earning 10.9% more as function heads, rising to 13.8% for HR directors.
Mark Crail, head of salary surveys for XpertHR, said: "The findings from our survey give an interesting insight into the sort of issues we expect to see when larger employers are forced to publish their gender pay gap figure next year.
"Employers are going to find it difficult to justify data that suggests the gender pay gap can be accounted for largely by having a disproportionate number of men at senior levels earning disproportionately large salaries compared with women in equally senior roles.
"The figures here show that HR is failing to put its own house in order, and I fully expect the picture to be far worse for other professional groups."
The data also reveals that while women outnumber men by three to one in the profession as a whole, men make up a much higher proportion of senior HR managers.
At entry level, women outnumber men by a factor of five to one, and among established HR professionals, women are still in a majority of two or three to one. But men constitute around four out of ten senior HR managers and directors.
As yet, the Government is still in consultation as to what methodology it will expect employers to adopt in calculating the gender pay gap.
The approach used by XpertHR has been to compare the basic pay of full-time equivalent employees covered by the survey.