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August 2023

Women in UK finance industry earn 23% less than men, according to Spendesk research

The CFO Salary Benchmark study also reveals that 81% of corporate finance professionals in the UK felt that the current economic climate has had an impact on their mental health

10th August, London, UK – Spendesk, a 7-in-1 spend management solution for SMEs, has today shared the findings of a survey carried out with the global finance communityCFO Connect, looking at the salaries of corporate finance leaders of all levels in Europe and the US.

Key findings:

  • Women in UK finance roles on average earn 23% less than men and overall 12% less in the Europe and US

  • In the UK, 33% of finance professionals don’t feel they are fairly compensated

  • The average finance salary in the US is almost double that in Europe 

  • In the UK, 81% of finance professionals felt the current economic climate has had an impact on their mental health

The average overall finance salary in the US is €194,380 / £167,030, which is almost double the €102,192 / £87,813 of Europe. In line with last year’s survey, the UK’s €122,896 / £105,604 average remains Europe’s highest.

In the UK specifically, the findings revealed women are paid on average 23% less than men for the same finance roles. This gap has narrowed by 7% since 2022 (it was 30%); however, it does highlight the fact that the UK’s progression for pay equality is falling behind other countries, which all have less disparity.

When including Europe and the US, women earn on average 12% less than their male counterparts, which has improved by 1% since 2022. Overall, the discrepancy in pay is reflected in job satisfaction, with two-thirds of men feeling that they are fairly compensated, versus 59% of women.

The pay gap is different depending on roles, with senior positions being more closely aligned. For example, the average salary across Europe and the US for a female Chief Finance Officer (CFO) is €140,707 / £121,241, whereas the male equivalent averages at €142,604 / £122,870 – a gap of 1.3%.

In contrast, at mid-level, the pay gap is turned upside down with female Heads of Finance earning 6.1% more than their male counterparts - €98,930 / £84,823 (female) versus €92,908 / £79,660 (male).

The current economic climate and its effect on mental health

Navigating the turbulent headwinds of the economy has not been easy for many businesses, and finance teams have felt their fair share of the difficulties. When surveyed, the majority (73%) of finance leaders felt the current economic climate has had an impact on their mental health. That said, only 6% said the impact was “substantial”.

In the context of the economic climate, women seem to be affected more (80%) than men (70%). Interestingly, German finance professionals are more confident than their peers, with 37% of them stating that their mental health is “not impacted at all” by the current economic context.

The region that is most affected is the UK — 81% of finance professionals have been affected.

Commenting on the results, Rodolphe Ardant, founder and CEO of Spendesk, said: “It’s encouraging to see a slight decrease in the gender pay gap, but of course we would rather not have any gap at all. This should be a cause for concern for all companies. We need to see more determined action to achieve genuine pay parity. Employers who fail to guarantee appropriate equitable remuneration risk losing the very best talent, which then risks the growth and survival of their business.” 

He adds: “Now, in the context of years of economic instability, we also see real mental health impacts on corporate finance professionals. We can’t ignore this. We all aspire to create work environments that are open, fulfilling, productive, and enjoyable for our teams. It’s time for companies to recognise the critical importance of pay equity and mental well-being, and take concrete steps to foster a healthy, inclusive work culture.”

The full results of the study can be found here.


CFO Connect surveyed 1,000 finance professionals from April 2023 to May 2023, at several levels, from accountant to CFO. Respondents came mainly from the UK, USA, France and Germany.

The various salaries have all been converted into euros for consistency.

About Spendesk:

Spendesk enables companies to easily control costs, gain 100% visibility over spend, and

save time thanks to built-in automation. Ultimately, businesses that use Spendesk empower

finance teams to gain valuable time to invest in strategic topics to grow the business.

Founded in 2016, Spendesk is now trusted by thousands of businesses from start-ups to

established brands, such as Algolia, Soundcloud, Curve, Doctolib, Gousto, Raisin, Sezane,

Wefox. Spendesk-backed CFO Connect is the fastest-growing global community of finance

Press contact:

Safia Zoghlami

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