Gender pay gap sees men receive 57% more than women in pay rises

Pay rises and promotions are often calculated as a percentage of salary in the UK. For men, this equates to an average of £2,017. However, due to an imbalance in pay, UK women typically receive £1,284 - or around 57% less than men.

Related topics:  Finance News,  Gender
Warren Lewis
7th December 2021
gender balance women equal

The findings, based upon research of 3,000 UK adults from Fidelity International, found that men are both more inclined to ask for a pay rise and to receive a larger sum when it is granted.

Around 50% of men have asked for a pay rise at some stage in their career, with 25% making more than one request within their working lifetime. In contrast, just 37% of women have ever asked for a pay rise - with only 12% making subsequent requests. The research suggests that after a request is made, men typically receive an uplift of £2,017 - 57% more compared with the £1,284 women gain.

The research reveals that along with pay rises, men (43%) are also more likely to have asked for a promotion at some point during their career, compared to women (30%), another route to securing higher earnings.

Percentage of men and women who have asked for a pay rise or promotion:

Pay Rise:

Yes, I've asked once: 25% Men vs. 25% Women
Yes, I've asked multiple times: 25% Men vs. 12% Women
Total percentage who have ever asked: 50% Men vs. 37% Women


Yes, I've asked once: 26% Men vs. 21% Women
Yes, I've asked multiple times: 17% Men vs. 9% Women
Total percentage who have ever asked: 43% Men vs. 30% Women

Women say the top reason they are deterred from asking for a pay rise is that they don’t feel brave enough (36%), while a quarter (25%) are worried their request will be declined. However, 14% say their reluctance to ask for a pay rise is their biggest professional regret.

Maike Currie, investment director at Fidelity International, comments: “Women have to mind many financial gaps in their life; the gender pay gap, the gender pension gap and now, the gender pay rise gap. They are already at a disadvantage when it comes to their finances, and the reticence to ask employers for a pay rise could mean that women are losing out on the opportunity to reduce this gap as well as strengthening both their short-term financial position and longer-term savings. Not only does a salary increase boost your personal finances, but your workplace pension contributions could receive a boost too.

“It’s a stereotype that men can be more direct in the workplace and more vocal about their financial needs, while women are believed to be less confident about speaking up. We need to challenge these notions, so they don’t become self-perpetuating. Employers too have a significant role to play in narrowing pay rise and promotion gaps, ensuring they encourage a culture where employees are able to discuss their career progression - including pay and benefits - at regular intervals.”

While the research highlighted some of the challenges which deter women from asking for a pay rise, it also included advice from women aimed at those starting out in their careers. Almost a third of women currently in work (31%) said ‘Go for it, if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, while 27% recommended researching and assessing the market before making the business case for your request. Others suggested thinking beyond pay itself (22%) and weighing up other benefits that may be available such as additional pension contributions or policies that help those with caring responsibilities2.

Maike continued: “Asking for a pay rise or promotion is about understanding your value, thinking about those key stages in your career where you can demonstrate progression and pointing to your achievements. If you think about it in these terms, it becomes somewhat less daunting - you’re making a business case for yourself.

“It’s also worth considering your whole benefits package. For example, if you are moving to a new job, it is important to ask about your workplace pension contributions and ensure you stay on track for retirement. Some employers will offer policies that support employees as they balance their responsibilities at work and home - for example, shared parental leave or family care leave to help those that need to care for family members - and can make a big difference to your overall wellbeing2.

Maike concludes: “At those points in your life where you are able to secure an increase in salary - whether through a pay rise, promotion, or even moving to a new job - think carefully about how you can use this to strengthen your financial position. Some of this may go towards your day-to-day spending, but it’s also a good opportunity to think about boosting your savings and investments or making use of your tax-free allowances by increasing your pension contributions.”

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