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Oct 17, 2022

Male IR heads at small caps paid more than female heads

Gaps in gender pay and seniority exposed in new IR Magazine research

Companies of differing sizes have mixed results in the path to gender equality, according to IR Magazine’s latest Women in IR 2022 report.

The report, which delves deeper into the research from IR Magazine’s Global IR Salary & Careers Report 2022, reveals that smaller companies do well in terms of equality for IR heads, while larger companies have achieved pay equality for IROs in the team.

Analysis of research into pay and seniority in IR teams in 2021 shows 54 percent of IR heads are women. This is higher than the proportion of women working across IR at small-cap companies, where the ratio is 46 percent women to 54 percent men. Similarly, the 47 percent of IR heads at mid-caps who are women is only marginally lower than the 48 percent female IR teams at these companies.

But there is still a gap when it comes to salaries for IR heads at smaller companies. Median pay for male IR heads at small caps is one bracket higher than for female heads, with four in 10 men earning upwards of $200,000, compared with just over a quarter of women earning the same. While the median salary for IR heads at mid-cap companies is the same for men and women, 37 percent of women earn less than $150,000, compared with 21 percent of men.

There remains an issue in IR seniority by gender at larger companies. Here, the proportion of male IR heads at large caps is 63 percent, while seven in 10 IR bosses at mega-cap companies are men. Half of female IR heads at large and mega-cap companies earn upwards of $200,000, yet seven in 10 men of similar seniority are paid in this range. The difference in pay can be explained in part by the high proportion of female bosses in Asia, a region with typically lower pay than North America or Europe.

Mind the pay gap

There have been significant improvements in the gender pay gap among IROs, however. In fact, female IROs at large or mega-cap companies now earn slightly more on average than men. Male and female IROs have the same median pay bracket of $100,000 to $149,999, but more women than men earn above this – 22 percent compared with 17 percent of men.

There still remains a gap in how women and men are paid as IROs at smaller companies. Small-cap male and female IROs share the same median pay bracket of $50,000 to $74,999, but 44 percent of men earn above this, compared with just 23 percent of women. The median pay bracket for male IROs at mid-cap companies is one pay bracket higher than for their female counterparts, yet the number earning upwards of $100,000 is practically the same – 33 percent of men and 32 percent of women.

One possible reason for the gender pay gap still existing among IROs at smaller companies could be the differences in professional background. Considerably more men than women working in IR at small-cap companies previously worked in corporate finance, while more men than women at mid-cap IR teams come from a capital markets background. Both of these are areas that traditionally command high salaries and so may have led to a gap in pay expectations for those moving into the IR field.

IR Magazine’s Women in IR 2022 report is available to IR Advanced and IR Intel subscribers. Click here to read the report.