IMA Moments

Gender Pay Gap: More Needs to Be Done

By Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE
April 17, 2018

Over the years, women have become a powerful force in the finance and accounting profession. And although we’re on our way to closing the gender pay gap worldwide, we still have a ways to go. At IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), we believe that empowering women with the skills they need is crucial for career advancement and salary increases.


April 10, 2018, was Equal Pay Day in the United States. The National Committee on Pay Equity started the public awareness event in 1996 to shed light on how far into the year women must work to earn what men had earned in the previous year. In light of this day, I want to share with you some inspiring findings from IMA’s 2018 Global Salary Survey, as well as other initiatives IMA is participating in to support women in career advancement.




We know closing the gender pay gap will take time, and small improvements are encouraging, but more needs to be done. In March, IMA published its 2018 Global Salary Survey. Among its findings is that the gender pay gap has closed slightly from last year overall. Most women, though, aren’t seeing change in the right direction.


Overall, women’s median base salary and total compensation are at 90% that of men, whereas last year they were at 89% and 84%, respectively. Although the overall gaps seem to have improved, gaps among women ages 20 to 29 reversed track from last year. This year, women ages 20 to 29 earned a median base salary 15% lower than that of men in the same age group. Last year, the women’s median base salary was 50% higher than that of the men for this age group.


Similarly, the Middle East/Africa region is the only region that includes categories where women’s median compensation exceeded that of the men, and women in Europe reported the highest overall gap of all the regions (67%). While some of these findings are encouraging, organizations around the world need to offer women the same opportunities as men.




On March 8, 2018, IMA hosted our Women’s Accounting Leadership Series in Amsterdam, Netherlands. More than 100 women from across Europe networked with accomplished female leaders, developed leadership skills, and discussed issues facing women in the accounting and finance professions. Attendees also walked away with useful tools for managing professional challenges, achieving better work-life balance, and developing essential skills. Our next Women’s Leadership event will be in Boston, Mass., on October 26, 2018.


Events like these help address the gender gap and raise awareness for women working in business. The success of women is the success of the organization. Without everyone working equally as a team, an organization cannot be successful.


How will you enact change this year? What else can organizations do to continue to close the gender pay gap?



IMA’s 2018 Global Salary Survey

#MeToo in Accounting


Women’s Accounting Leadership Series – IMA


IMA Global Salary Survey by Regions – IMA


Jeffrey C. Thomson, CMA, CSCA, CAE, is IMA president and CEO. He also is a member of IMA’s Bergen-Rockland-Meadowlands Chapter. You can reach Jeff at or follow him on Twitter: @IMA_JeffThomson.
3 + Show Comments
    Greg April 21, 2018 AT 2:26 pm

    I agree that women and men should make the same given THE same education and years of experience and exactly the same responsibilities. I know of an iNDIVIDUAL who THINKs she should make what I make but she HAs 15 fewer years of background and her scope of work is 1/3 of mine. Let’s stop looking at averages and skewing statistics but do what exacting ANALYSts do is to compare apples with apples…

    Douglas A Sledge April 21, 2018 AT 8:51 am

    Morning .. I support parity in the profession, gender, race, RELIGION, etc. However, in your summary above, you only pointed to those salary differences which the position that women are discriminated against in the management accounting profession. When I questioned the report of salaries the prior month, for not including gender differentials for CMA holders, I was directed to conduct my own research in lesser available studies of the iMA. I did the research and determined that for CMA holders the following two determinations were revealed: top management: BACCALAUREATE degree, Women were 99.4% of men in base salary…. For Middle Management, BACCALAUREATE degree women were 101.5% of men. I offer this to suggest that positive information is OFTENTIMES excluded if it does not support the popular position. I suggest that perhaps life choices have a significant affect on the differentials. I know that I, for one, have championed equality in all management accounting professional interactions, and think that reporting is skewed to present the desired narrative.
    thanks…. Sledge

    Mr. Sledge. You were referred to the most current and extensive IMA Global Salary Survey: U.S. Table 13). You neglected to include all the data: For Senior Management, Baccalaureate Degree women were 80% of men; and for Lower Management, Baccalaureate Degree, women were 88% of men. Hopefully, you didn’t intend to skew your own reporting.

    gunner April 20, 2018 AT 1:48 pm

    very interesting article; however, in my experience in finance positions women make just as much money or more than men. sometimes it is not about gender but experience. an accountant with 30 years experience retires and is replaced by a young accountant (man or woman) with maybe 4 to 5 years experience. this person will make quite a bit less.
    and before anybody starts to scream, i have been in situations where i replaced a very experienced accountant and i was paid $ 25,000 less since i was much younger and less experienced. in most of my finance positions women were my supervisors and they made quite a bit more than me. i guess there are always 2 sides to a story.

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