Gender pay gap in management consultancy continues to rise

08 March 2023 2 min. read
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The pay gap between men and women in the UK independent consulting segment is growing, according to new research. A survey from Comatch found that men earn an average of 13% more than women in the same role.

For many UK employers, pay gap reporting remains a key priority. However, for all their transparency, most companies have little progress to show for it. Previous studies have found that as many of three-quarters of UK businesses report their numbers to show a continued commitment for inclusion, but half also admitted that pay gaps were virtually unchanged.

A new report from Comatch suggests that the consulting sector is no exception to this trend – particularly in the independent sphere. Comatch – acquired by Malt in 2022 – is a specialist in the independent consulting sector, and has access to a freelance network of some 500,000 consultants around the world. The gap between pay of women and men now stands at 13%.

Gender pay gap in management consultancy continues to rise

This means that women earn on average £122 per day less than men in the same line of work. In comparison, the gap between pay for women and men in the French independent consulting space is far lower – at just 4%.

At the same time, Comatch found that in spite of initiatives in favour of gender equality across the industry – such as shared parental leave, extended paternity leave, and flexible working – women are also still in the minority in the consulting sector, particularly at partner level. Fewer than one-quarter of independent consultants in the UK are women – though that 22% portion is an increase from the 19% of 2021.

There also remains a notable absence of women in certain lines of consulting. IT architecture, asset optimisation and IT strategy are the functional areas with the lowest proportion of women, with 7%, 9% and 10% respectively. Meanwhile, expertise reported by women in Comatch’s network was highest in marketing and communication, branding, skills management and employee training – present on around one-third of all the network’s of the profiles.

Meanwhile, in terms of sectoral expertise, women in the Comatch community were better represented in the textile sector – with 32% of profiles. This was followed by pharmaceuticals on 28%, and biotechnology at 28% – while only 10% or fewer profiles noted expertise in electrical engineering, shipbuilding and industrial equipment sectors.