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CMA Salary Level for Women in China


I have written a post on CMA salary analysis in China with very positive feedback, and I am glad the information has been useful. As one of the few female bloggers in the industry, I feel “obliged” to present this picture specifically for my female readers.

Profile of Female IMA Members in China

An average female member in this part of the world is 34 years old with 10 years of experience in the current field of work. She is quite likely to be married (69% of respondent) and have at least one professional certification. She is able to find fellow female CMAs around because, based on the survey, female represents 46% of total respondents, vs 34% in the US and 7% in the Middle East.

Salary Level of Current and Prospective Women CMAs in China

As Mao Zi Dong said, Women hold up half the sky. Is it the case for CMAs in China? While there are an encouraging representation of female CMAs, they don’t typically get paid the same as men:

(Total compensation in RMB)

Women CMA salary by gender in China

Median Salary Level by Age

As you can see from the graph below, the “male premium” exists in every age group. The difference is smallest in the youngest 19-29 age group which I see as an encouraging sign that more young female professionals are demanding equality in pay.

It is interesting to note that the 40-49 age group is paid less than the 30-39 age group, in contrast to the continuously upward trend for their male counterparts.

(Total compensation in RMB)

men women cma salary difference by age

Median Salary Level by Management Level

The female/male income disparity can be partly explained by the management level by gender: there are more female working in the entry and middle positions and fewer in the senior and top positions. This is a global phenomenon — very similar result is found in the US and the Middle Eastern surveys.

(% of total respondents)

Women CMA statistics by level of experience

If you look at the graph below, it is interesting to note that women, on average, get the same as men (if not slightly more) at entry-level positions. It is encouraging to see gender equity at least at this level.

As these professionals progress in their careers, the difference becomes more apparent at the senior and top management level.

Whether the lower compensation leads to fewer incentive for women to stay on top-level jobs, or whether women choose to leave the career path for other commitments is a complicated story, but the statistics do tell us the disparity worsens as women climb up the corporate ladder.

(Total compensation in RMB)

Male female CMA salary difference in China by management level

CMA vs Non-CMA

This is not a gender-related analysis, but the positive impact of having the CMA designation becomes more apparent in this chart. Overall, CMAs earn 38% more in salary and 34% more in total compensation than non-CMAs.

The difference in pay between CMAs and non-CMAs is more striking when the age of respondents is considered: in the 19-29 age group, CMAs earned 47% more than their non-certified counterparts, and in the 30-39 age group, the premium is 68%. The benefit is not clear in the 40-49 age group, probably because these individuals are more established in their careers.

(Total compensation in RMB)

China CMA salary by designation


The survey confirms the female/male income disparity, but the gap is narrowing for the younger age group, and I see this as an encouraging sign. In any case, getting the CMA qualification is clearly beneficial regardless of gender.

Any Questions?

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Further Reading

Source: IMA Salary Survey China (2012)

About the Author Stephanie Ng

I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley) and the publisher of this and several accounting professional exam prep sites.

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