We recently discovered, during a Search Assignment concluded for a South African Financial Services client that there is still a significant pay gap between men and women in South Africa.

As a team, we were intrigued to explore the underlying reasons for this disparity.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this issue and uncover any further insights.

Research has pointed towards several factors, such as the different jobs that men and women typically hold, but this is not applicable to our specific situation as the professionals we spoke to were doing the same job. Another potential cause is that certain jobs that women perform are undervalued when compared to those performed by men.

Another theme is that women do jobs that are not as valued as what men do, is this true? It was also evident in the research that men hold the most senior positions in organisations; I can agree to this because with our research assignment most executive positions in the different organisations researched were held by men.

Further research insights state that that women are more likely to take time off to care for family members and therefore earn less over their lifetime. Are women penalised for having children and taking time off to take care of their families? Lastly, many employers still rely on antiquated pay practices such as relying on salary history when setting salaries which often leads to lower pay for women. We see this a lot in the South African market where there is no legislation that forbids prospective employers from requesting proof of earnings.

It is obvious that the gender pay gap still exists in South Africa, and it is important to recognize the nuances behind these gaps. We are optimistic that the financial services sector may one day achieve equality; however, we must first recognize and address the underlying causes.

If we as a society want to make effective change, we need open dialogue around understanding these issues better, as well as advocating for equal access to career opportunities regardless of gender or any other factor.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on this issue and uncover any further insights.