New Report Reveals Gender Pay Gap in Community and Voluntary Sector

Posted on 3 Nov 2020

Women leaders in the voluntary, community and charitable sector are being paid an average of 15.2% less than male counterparts, according to new research published by The Community Foundation for Ireland and The Wheel, the national association of charities.

The report, the second Pay Gap Report for Ireland’s Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector, also shows that while men account for one-third of all management roles they are more likely to have the most senior or leadership positions, such as Chief Executive.

Key Findings:

Gender Pay Gap

  • The overall average gender pay gap for management grades in the survey is 15.2% i.e. females are paid 85% of the male rate overall (with a median of 16.7%). These figures are an improvement on those of 2017 of 16.7% and 20.8% respectively. 
  • The gender pay gap appears highest at the most senior management level i.e. Level 1: Head of Organisation, at 13.4% (median of 12.7%), and 2nd highest at Level 3: Middle Manager Level at12.2% (median 12.3%), a pattern which persists from 2017.

Job Roles

  • While only one-third of all managers are male, they are more likely to be working at the higher levels of management (i.e. level 1 Head of Organisation, and level 2 Head of Function/ Senior Manager)  Some 65% of all male managers are working at these levels compared to 51% of females.  (This was also found to be the case for the CFI 2017 Gender Pay Gap Report, where 76% of male managers were to be found in the top 2 levels of management compared to 59% of females).    
  • Even though there is a two to one split in the ratio of female to male managers, females are more likely to hold level 3 and level 4 positions than males.  Males would appear to be disproportionately over-represented at the higher levels of management and under-represented at the lower levels.  

Author of the report and Independent Researcher, Geraldine Anderson, commented on the findings:

"Understanding the particular challenges that may be faced by women in attaining the most senior management levels is critical. Committing to overcome those challenges as an organisation can be a determining factor in organisational success in reducing gender pay gap, increasing female participation and development, and providing a more equitable, fair and just organisation for all employees."  

Commenting on the Report, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland said:

“Women leaders bring a different perspective to resolving social justice, equality and many other issues facing our communities. Their talents, skills and ability are often part of the solution. When their leadership is side-lined not only are individual organisations less well off, so is society as a whole

While this report shows some improvement in terms of the pay gap since 2017 – we are clearly not a parity or equality yet. The same goes in terms leadership roles. This research has identified gaps which need to be bridged – not just because it is the right thing to do, but because our communities and our country will be better places as a result.”

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel said:
"The community and voluntary sector has an opportunity to set the bar for society by eliminating the gender pay gap.

Our sector has traditionally been to the forefront of social change and works on a broad variety of social, human rights and equality issues. We see the negative effects of the gender pay gap through our work, and can play an important leadership role in doing better. 

Proactively providing equal pay will bring significant benefits to organisations, and more importantly to society overall. In doing this we can better practice our values of equality, fairness and justice while also ensuring we are benefiting from a broader set of experiences and expertise to best serve the needs of those we support, and to better reflect the diversity of our population.”

Download the Report