Human Capital & Careers

For Management Accountants, Gender Pay Gap Is Closing

There's reason for hope that the gender pay gap among management accountants will in time narrow much further.
David McCannMarch 15, 2019

Within the ranks of management accountants, the gap between the compensation of women and men is narrowing.

In the United States, median total pay for women in 2018 was 88% of what men earned, according to the latest annual compensation survey by the Institute of Management Accountants.

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That was up from 85% in 2017, according to IMA, which polled 1,633 of its U.S. members.

There appears to be reason for hope that the gender pay gap among this group of finance professionals will in time narrow much further. That’s because the younger management accountants are today, the narrower the gap. In the 20-29 age group, according to the IMA, women earned a median 97% of what their male counterparts did.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 50 and older, the figure was just 80%.

Worldwide, there was no compensation gap. IMA surveyed 5,208 of its members globally (including the U.S. participants), and at the median women earned 100% of what men did.

In fact, in the global survey, women earned significantly more in the 20-29 age group, where their median total pay was 120% of men’s. For ages 30-39 and 40-49, women made 98% and 99%, respectively, of what men did. Only in the 50-and-over group did women have a significant disadvantage (86% of men’s pay).

Back in the United States, looking at the data from the standpoint of management level was more sobering. Among “top” management accountants, women’s median pay was only 74% that of men. The figure was 84% for “senior” managers and 90% for “middle” managers.

At the lowest management level, there was no gender pay gap.

However, the raw totals don’t tell the whole story. For example, more U.S. women than men earned overtime compensation. “Most likely, women in lower management are putting in more overtime to make up for a difference in base salary,” the IMA wrote in its survey report.

Also, in middle management, the gap in median total compensation (90%) was wider than the gap in median base pay (93%). “This means that male respondents at this management level earn significantly more in additional compensation,” write IMA. “This is likely due to the difference in the percentage of men and women in middle management receiving bonuses: 73% of the men reported a bonus compared with 30% of women.”

Overall, the median base salary ($94,000) and total compensation ($102,000) for U.S. survey participants fell sharply last year — down by 6.8% and 9.7%, respectively, from 2017.

However, IMA attributed the decline to a corresponding decline in the median age of survey participants, from 45 in 2017 to 43 last year.