Diverse people

British employers still have work to do in pay differentials and board-level representation, Glassdoor report reveals.

The UK is falling behind other European countries on workplace gender equality, ranking in eleventh place – behind the Nordics, France and Spain.

The Glassdoor Economic Research report looked at the female-to-male labour force ratio, the proportion of female managers and the gender gap in employment rates by educational attainment across 18 countries.

The study also found women to be widely underrepresented at board level. Norway has the highest proportion of women on boards, with France, Finland and Sweden closely following with around 30 percent of female board members. In Denmark, the UK, Italy and Germany, around 26 percent are female, while in Estonia the proportion is only eight percent.

The pay difference between women with no children and those with children was found to be the highest in Ireland by 31 percentage points. The difference was also high in Germany and the UK – at 23 and 14 percentage points respectively – and lowest in Spain and Belgium at three percentage points or less.

Dr Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor commented on the findings:

“In the UK there are fewer women than men in the workplace. However, this gap is considerably narrower for those with a university education,”

“By contrast, Sweden, Norway and Finland all have an almost equal balance of men and women in the labour market and can be a lesson for the UK. Of some concern is the high cost of motherhood in the UK, where the gender pay gap widens among working women with children. British working mothers are significantly worse off than those without family responsibilities, and this pressure will not help the UK address its workplace diversity issues.”

One area where the UK fares well is in its proportion of female managers: it ranks in third place for this measure, behind only Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, Norway the UK and Portugal, more than 35 percent of managers are women, while in Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy and Denmark the proportion drops to below 30 percent.

Across Europe, women were found to be less likely to be employed full time than men, but the gender employment gap for those who attended university was found to be around half of what it is for those with less than upper secondary education.



Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.