Women graduating from university in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in 2020 could be the first generation to close the gender pay gap in their lifetimes, according to new research from Accenture.
The report said that, within decades, the pay gap could close if women take advantage of three career equalisers and if business, government and academia provide critical support.
In the UAE, although UAE women show greater interest then men in aspiring to senior leadership positions, the pay gap in developing markets is unlikely to reach pay parity until 2066 at the very earliest, Accenture said in the research that polled women from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
“The future workforce must be an equal workforce. The gender pay gap is an economic and competitive imperative that matters to everyone, and we must all take action to create significant opportunities for women and close the gap more quickly,” said Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa.
Accenture’s research found that, globally, a woman earns an average $100 for every $140 a man earns.
The research also identified several critical factors that affect a woman’s ability to achieve equal pay as early as university.
It showed that female undergraduates in the UAE are currently less likely than their male counterparts to choose an area of study that they believe offers high earning potential (37 percent vs 42 percent) or have a mentor (69 percent vs 70 percent).
However, it showed that UAE women show greater interest then men in aspiring to senior leadership positions (67 percent vs 62 percent).
Additionally, young women lag in adopting new technologies quickly (58 percent vs 71 percent) and in taking coding and computing courses (83 percent vs 93 percent).
The report offers three powerful accelerators to help women close the pay gap, including digital fluency – the extent to which people use digital technologies to connect, learn and work; career strategy – the need for women to aim high, make informed choices and manage their careers proactively; and tech immersion – the opportunity to acquire greater technology and stronger digital skills to advance as quickly as men.
Accenture surveyed more than 28,000 women and men, including undergraduates, in 29 countries.
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