No Industry Fit for a Woman: The Sectors with the Biggest Gender Pay Gaps

  • The consumer sector has the largest gender wage gap, with 49% of women having a lower salary compared to their male counterparts.
  • The energy sector shows the biggest disparity of women in roles with only 11% of women making up senior positions.

The Biggest Pay Gaps by Sector

Inequality and lack of diversity in business has been at the forefront of discussion for many, as the gender pay gap is still present across many sectors. have revealed which sectors have the largest pay gaps between the sexes in their latest research piece:

  • Consumer– The consumer industry takes first place for the largest wage gap with 49% of women having a lower salary compared to men. The proportion of women in the consumer industry shows 33% of women are in junior positions, with only 16% making it to senior positions and 10% as CEOs.
  • Financial Services and Investors– Ranging from credit unions, accountancies and stock companies, the financial services have the second largest wage gap at 38%. The sector also has the largest proportion of women in junior roles, with 9% of women in CEO positions.
  • Energy– The energy sector ranks third with 31% wage gap between the genders. The sector also has no women in CEO positions, with only 11% of making it to senior positions.
  • Information and Communication Technology– As a growing sector in the digital world, the information and communication technology sector has a gender pay gap of 25%. The sector also shows significant disproportion of women across roles, with 32% of women in junior roles compared to only 5% of women in CEO positions.
  • Media, Entertainment and Information– With a gender pay gap of 18%, the media sector shows one of the lowest pay gaps and also has the highest number of CEOs compared to all sectors. Whilst 35% of women are in junior roles, 13% of women take CEO positions in the media sector.
  • Healthcare– With the smallest wage gap at 15%, the healthcare sector shows the second largest disproportion of women in junior roles at 39%, but only 6% making it into CEO position.

Boardrooms around the World

Whilst the number of women in the boardroom has been improving over the years in an attempt to address the disparity between men and women, Scandinavian countries take the lead with nearly 40% of women in the boardroom from top companies in Norway and Sweden.

Although northern Europe has taken strides to be the world’s leading countries for equality, the rest of Europe and U.S. have a lot of catching up to do. The UK has 26.25% of women in its boardrooms compared to only 19.92% of women in the U.S.

Here are the top three countries:

  • Norway– In 2007, Norway’s government introduced a quota which needed at least 40% of women to be on the board for businesses in an attempt to address gender imbalance. Whilst the law proved to be controversial, nearly ten years later the country takes first place for the most women in the boardroom.
  • Sweden– In 2016, Sweden announced that it wanted to follow in Norway’s footsteps and implement a quota for the number of women in boardrooms, but more recently this bill was scrapped as opposition parties felt it was up to businesses to decide and let women gain positions on merit. Despite dropping this idea, Sweden takes second place with 37.6% of women in the boardroom.
  • France– Taking strides to become Western Europe’s leading country for women in the boardroom, there is also legislation in place for the amount of women in boardrooms. The French take third place behind Sweden by just 0.1% with 37.5% of women in the boardroom.

The bottom three countries:

  • Hungary– Taking the spot for the worst gender disparity is Hungary, with only 4.55% of women in boardrooms compared to an overwhelming 95.4% of men. In recent years, the European Union attempted to make quotas a requirement for all states, but Hungary opposed this on ideological grounds.
  • Czech Republic– Lagging behind the European average, Czech Republic only has 6.17% of women in their boardrooms. However, over recent years there has been some growth in issues surrounding diversity and gender imbalance in the country – the government and EU are seeking solutions to close the gap.
  • Russia– Being the largest country by area and population in Europe (although it also resides in part of the Asian continent), Russia also remains behind the European average, with only 7.5% of women being in boardrooms compared to 92.5% of men.

Ian Wright from stated:

“Across all sectors, there is a great disparity between women and men in senior positions – especially in the boardrooms. The research shows there is a greater number of women in higher education, but this isn’t reflected in a number of industries – and many are set back by the gender pay gap.”

Gender Imbalance in Business

To see the gender parity of women in business, or for more statistics on how nations compare you can take a look at’s tool here.

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