Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, which was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on June 10, 1963. At the time, women earned about 59 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. To correct this disparity, the law made it illegal for employers to pay women lower wages than men for doing the same job.
Today, the gender pay gap has narrowed, but as we reported in the May issue of Risk Management, it still exists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, women were paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. While a 23% gain is certainly progress, there is still significant ground to be made up before full equality can be achieved.
The pay gap is also evident in the risk management field. Data compiled for the 2013 RIMS Compensation Survey of risk management salaries revealed that, depending on the job title, female respondents took home base salaries that were up to 17% less than their male counterparts in the same position (see the chart below). The discrepancy was greatest with those who handle claims (claims managers and analysts), who made just over 17% less, while all other positions saw gaps of less than 10%. Risk management analysts saw only a 2% gap, while directors of business continuity, financial or IT risk management actually made 2.4% more than men.
What this data seems to suggest is that although women have become leaders in risk management and have long made gender irrelevant in terms of performance, their pay has not always followed suit. If there is a silver lining, though, it is that risk management salaries, for the most part, are more equitable than the national average. Perhaps as the discipline continues to become more prominent and gain greater recognition in corporate boardrooms, the profile of all risk managers will be enhanced and these pay differences will quickly disappear, making risk management an early leader when it comes to fulfilling President Kennedy’s 50-year-old promise of equal pay for equal work.