A recent survey highlighted in The Grocer shows women sales directors working in FMCG earn £52,000 a year less than their male equivalents. What’s more, women sales directors comprised only 10 percent of total sales directors across the complete survey sample. This survey highlights some surprising and disappointing salary results for women already working at senior level within the FMCG sector and for high flyers aiming at top sales director roles within the field. 

Survey of FMCG salaries

The salary data was sourced from 142 FMCG suppliers, including multinationals, blue chip companies and SMEs. It highlighted that male sales directors earned an average of £138,885 per annum, while female sales directors in equivalent roles earned just £86,600, giving a gender pay differential of over 37 percent. This is an extremely disappointing set of statistics, particularly given the fact that women make up such a large percentage of the total FMCG sales force at lower levels within many organisations. It’s to be hoped that employers will begin to address this issue and create a more equitable salary scale for women working at high levels within the sector.

Reasons for salary differential

It’s difficult to see why women fare so badly in the salary stakes at sales director level when compared to their male counterparts. One reason could be that women tend to be less pushy and proactive than men within the working environment. This could be a major differential across the sector and FMCG suppliers need to think about creating a workplace where women feel more empowered to act in ways that are similar to roles modelled by men.

Another reason for the lack of female sales directors could well be the enduring work ethic and the fact that many women require more flexible working conditions which tend to be unavailable at higher levels. Changes to create more flexible working patterns with options to work later in the evening or at weekends could well benefit women working at senior levels.

Last year the government enacted legislation making it compulsory for businesses within the private sector with over 250 employees to report on pay, in efforts to highlight the gender pay gap. All businesses need to publish this data by April 2018.

Anthony Gregg is a retail executive recruitment agency, specialising in high-level appointments within the UK retail sector. We fill vacancies for top performing male and female retail executives in the FMCG industry at board level and above. Contact us for more details.

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