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Mind the (pay) gap

Four senior executives talk about how far we’ve come in narrowing the gender pay gap

Shaun Murphy, managing partner, KPMG Ireland

“EU figures place the gender pay gap in Ireland at 13.9 per cent, slightly better than the EU average of 16.7 per cent, but there is clearly much work to be done to address why there are proportionately more men than women in the most highly paid jobs. While legislation will be put in place to require mandatory gender pay gap reporting for certain businesses here in Ireland, real progress will only come about when businesses themselves are the drivers of change.

“Targeted policies like the implementation of intelligent work arrangements such as work-life balance policies are crucial for providing more equal access for women to higher-paid positions. Business leaders need to create the culture to make this happen. None of these policies will be easy or free to implement, but they have the potential to make a significant positive difference.”

Maria Hegarty, Equality Strategies

“We can see the impact that shared parental leave is having. An ESRI study some years ago showed that only 1 per cent of the gender pay gap was down to the fact that women bear children – not rear them but bear them. Organisations are beginning to see the value of having parents share parental leave and policies that don’t define gender in relation to parental leave are helping that. There will be more of a drive for it, and that will address the issue of being a parent affecting your career. Government policy supports this and Irish men are very good at taking parental leave.”

Mary Connaughton, CIPD Ireland

“The gender pay gap is a snapshot of the overall pay of women in an organisation compared with the overall pay of men. It occurs where organisations have more men, at more senior level, and at higher pay. It is different from equal pay, which is about comparing pay for the same job.


“We currently have a gender pay gap in Ireland of 14 per cent. It has come down but is creeping back up, so we have a lot to do. Companies are increasingly reporting on it so that it can be seen both internally and externally, so that women can see how they are tackling it. But organisations need to take other steps too to promote more women at higher level and, equally, to ensure that more men are taken on at lower levels too.”

Central Bank spokesperson

"The Central Bank published its first Gender Pay Gap Report in April this year as part of our commitment to transparency and to becoming a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Our report showed that with 50 per cent female and 50 per cent male staff, we have good gender parity across the organisation. There are some differences in gender profiles across different levels, with, for example, a 57 per cent male to 43 per cent female split at our leadership level. At 2.7 per cent in favour of men, our pay gap is less than the national average of 14 per cent, however, we believe there's room for continued improvement."

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times