Gender Gap in Risk Manager Compensation Closing: Survey

November 9, 2015

Male risk managers in higher education are paid more on average than their female counterparts but the gap is closing as women gain experience in the field, according to a survey on risk manager compensation.

Male risk managers in higher education earn an average of $110,791 annually compared to an average of $96,628 for women, according to the survey by the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) of Bloomington, Indiana. Although the current survey finds gender is a factor in compensation, it also finds that the wage disparity between males and females is lower than in the group’s 2013 survey, with the current ratio of female-to-male compensation being 0.87, compared to 0.84 in the 2013 survey. According to the authors, the salary gap is likely closing because the experience gap between men and women is narrowing, falling from 4.5 years in the 2013 survey to only 0.8 in the current survey. This year the averages are 18.0 years of experience for males and 17.2 for females.

On average, each year of experience in the field translates into an additional $850 per year to higher education risk managers’ salaries, according to the survey.

The survey also found that average compensation goes up not only with experience but also with education level. The difference between average compensation for those holding just a Bachelor’s degree and those holding a Master’s degree is only about $7,500; however, the difference for those with a Master’s degree versus a J.D. or Doctorate is more than $30,000.

The survey of URMIA members was conducted in the summer of 2015 and elicited responses from 176 higher education institutions of all types. URMIA members work at 600 institutions of higher education and related companies. The pool of survey respondents was split almost evenly with 51 percent males and 49 percent females. Auburn University’s Christine Eick and Lee Colquitt and St. Mary’s University’s David Sommer provided analysis of the survey results.

The survey found other factors associated with compensation including:

  • A risk professional’s title may indicate the level of compensation, according to the analysis. Those with the title of “risk manager” earn the lowest average compensation (about $77,500) while those those with the title “director, risk management” are paid $22,000 higher than that. Those with titles of “executive director, risk management” or “associate/assistant vice president, risk management” or “chief risk officer” are on top, with “chief risk officers” earning an average of about $148,000.
  • Respondents in the Northeast receive nearly $15,000 more in compensation compared to those in oth­er regions.
  • Those at universities designated as “very high research” receive $15,000 more in compensation com­pared to the rest of the group.
  • Respondents in larger risk management de­partments are compensated more, as are those with a larger number of areas reporting to risk management.

Source: University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA)

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