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Male investor relations executives are paid 45 per cent more than women doing the same job, with the gender pay gap widening to 65 per cent in emerging markets, according to new figures to be published this week.

The findings of the survey by Bank of New York Mellon underline the scale of the pay gap between men and women as they rise into more senior roles near the top of the corporate hierarchy. The survey questioned investor relations professionals in 537 companies across 51 countries.

One female head of investor relations at a large European company, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I wasn’t surprised that there was a pay gap, but I was slightly surprised by the size of it — 45 per cent, that is a really big number.” 

The total mean pay, including salary and bonus, of the male investor relations officers questioned by the survey was $275,355, well above the total mean pay of $189,928 earned by their female counterparts. 

The gender pay gap among investor relations professionals is much higher than has been measured for the workforce as a whole. The EU’s average gender pay gap in 2015 was 16.3 per cent, according to recent European Commission figures. 

In the UK, the mean average gender pay gap for full-time workers was 14.1 per cent, which means women — in theory — work from November 10 to the end of the year for free, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Investor relations is a male-dominated world, according to the Bank of New York Mellon report, which found 71 men for every 29 women among the companies it surveyed. 

“Part of the problem is hiring women across the board,” said the female head of investor relations. “It is just symptomatic of a lack of women in the overall industry, as most investor relations people come from investment banking, sellside research or the internal finance function, which are all male-dominated industries.” 

The gender pay gap is even more extreme for investor relations executives in emerging markets, where the median total pay for men is $221,130, compared with $133,225 for the women. 

This is the first time that Bank of New York Mellon has asked about the gender pay gap in its biennial survey, so there is no way of knowing if it has widened or shrunk. 

One possible explanation for part of the gap is that almost two-thirds of the women surveyed work in mid-cap, small-cap or micro-cap companies, while only half of the men surveyed worked for companies below the large-cap or mega-cap threshold. 

“While the pay disparity is large among respondents, especially in the emerging markets, the function of investor relations is an increasingly critical role and professionalising the world over,” said Christopher Kearns, head of depositary receipts at BNY Mellon. 

“As companies face an increase in active stewardship from their investors and a smaller pool of discretionary capital with passive investments growth, attracting and retaining the best talent — both women and men — is critical.”

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