Gender pay gap to reduce by 2020, says report

Bengaluru, March 8 (IANS) Women graduates are likely to bridge the gender pay gap in developing markets by 2020, said a research report from global software major Accenture on Wednesday.

“The average pay gap could close if women take advantage of three career equalisers with the support of academia, government and business,” said the cross-industry report “Getting to Equal 2017” on findings from 29 countries where 28,000 women and men, including under-graduates, were surveyed.

The research found that women earned $100 as against $140 by men, causing imbalance and hidden pay gap that widened economic inequities between them.

Career accelerators could reduce the pay gap 35 per cent by 2030, with support from business, government and academia.

The three accelerators are digital fluency, career strategy and tech immersion.

“Socio-cultural issues force women to step back in careers, making the gap harder to close,” regretted Accenture India Chairman Rekha Menon in the report.

Asserting that the tech industry played a transformative role in fostering gender equality in the workplace, through its products and services, Menon said the average pay gap in developed markets could close by 2044.

“In developing markets, the changes could reduce 100 years off the time to reach pay parity, achieving it by 2066 instead of 2168,” said the report of the US-based IT major.

In India, the research found that the average pay gap between men and women was 67 per cent across 31 industries, with men earning $167 for every $100 by women.

“The gap is due to more men being in high paying functional and leadership roles than women and factors like education, industry segment and hours worked.”

The research found that applying the three strategies could add $30 billion to women’s incomes by 2030.

The report also identified several factors that affect a woman’s ability to achieve equal pay as early as university.

Indian female under-graduates are less likely to learn new digital skills than their male counterparts and lag in adopting new technologies.

“Gender equality is an essential element of an inclusive workplace and this extends to pay. Business, government and academia have a key role to play in closing the gap,” pointed out Accenture Chief Executive Pierre Nanterme.

Collaboration among these organisations is key to provide the right opportunities, environment and role models to lead the way for change.

Countries surveyed for the study are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Britain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.