Birmingham’s equal pay bill – women in the West Midlands consistently in Top Five most unsatisfied with pay

51% of female professionals based in the West Midlands feel underpaid at work – 10% more than male professionals in the region, and 8% more than female professionals based in London.

Almost a quarter of women in the region have reported receiving zero pay increase in the past 12 months, despite having negotiated for higher pay – compared to less than a fifth of men.

The new findings are part of a recent survey into Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace by specialist recruitment company Robert Walters.

The survey highlights how female professionals in white-collar jobs – especially those based in the West Midlands, as well as the North & East of England – are bearing the brunt of tightening company purses and inflation-related cuts.

Habiba Khatoon, Director of Robert Walters West Midlands comments:

“We are all too aware of the regional pay gap between the regions and London, but our research attests to the fact that there is a gendered regional pay gap.

“With recent news of local council bankruptcies, as well as companies cutting back due to the cost of living and unstable economy – it is even more important that we are made aware of the professionals who are most overlooked in terms of pay.”

Birmingham Council’s equal pay problem

Last month, Birmingham City Council was forced to issue a Section 114 notice – effectively declaring itself bankrupt – bought about by a £760m unpaid equal pay claims.

The claim was brought by 174 of the council’s former employees, where all but four were women.

According to Robert Walters research, only 7% of female managers with five years of experience based in the West Midlands earn above £55K – whilst 52% of male managers in London & 24% of male managers in the West Midlands (with the same years of experience behind them) earn over this amount.

The findings also reveal that almost a quarter of West Midlands-based female professionals haven’t received a raise in the last 12 months – 10% more than male professionals in the region.

Women in the West Midlands unsuccessful in negotiations

Unsurprising, pay increases are front of mind for female professionals in the region – with 44% stating that they have negotiated for higher pay in the past year, in the face of increasing inflation and rising cost of living. However nearly a quarter (22%) do not receive any form of pay rise post negotiation.

Out of the West Midlands-based professionals who negotiated for a higher salary – 10% more male (26%) than female (16%) professionals received the full amount that they had negotiated for.

A further third of West Midlands-based female professionals (30%) receive less than half of what they asked for.

Habiba adds: “Even when taking matters into their own hands and attempting to negotiate for a higher salary, less than a fifth of women in the West Midlands seem to be receiving the pay rise that they believe they deserve. This is even more worrying considering less than half are negotiating in the first place – so those who are actually receiving a rise are a minority of a minority. There is a real concern that female workers in the West Midlands could be falling behind in terms of pay.”

Employers not prioritising female professionals

Amongst female professionals in England – those based in the West Midlands are also one of the most likely to cite ‘not believing their employer would offer them a raise’ as a core deterrent for not negotiating for a pay increase.