Gender pay gap unchanged
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 448 02 December 2015
According to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the overall gender pay gap stands at 19.2 per cent, unchanged since last year.
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for 2015 also found that the gender pay gap for median earnings of full-time employees decreased to 9.4 per cent, from 9.6 per cent in 2014. Although this is the lowest since the survey began in 1997, the gap has hardly changed at all over the last four years. When full and part-time employees are combined, the figure increases to 19.2 per cent.
Other research has found that women working full time are paid less than men in 90 per cent of sectors, with those working in financial and insurance sectors among the worst affected. The report, “Opportunities and outcomes in education and work: Gender effects”, by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), looked at the impact of gender on a range of education and employment outcomes.
It found that male workers are paid on average 19 per cent more than their female counterparts in almost all areas of the workforce and women working in the financial and insurance sectors, as well as other professional roles, sometimes earn almost 40 per cent less than men. Similarly, large pay gaps exist within the energy sectors and scientific and technical occupations – roles where women are already chronically under-represented.
As the report points out, the stark findings on pay are compounded by the fact that female students outperform males at all levels of education, from GCSEs and A-Levels, through to university and post-graduate studies – making them more likely to be highly skilled and qualified.
Other findings in the report include:
- Nearly a third more women than men go on to study at degree level in the UK, with almost 300,000 women becoming graduates in 2014 compared to 205,000 men.
- In some sectors the ratio of male to female workers has increased dramatically over the past decade. In computer science, for example, men now outnumber women almost five to one – a 40 per cent increase from 2005/6.
- Although there has been an increase in female participation in apprenticeships, there are still big gender divides – for example, for every female apprentice in the construction sector, there are 60 male apprentices.
- From 2005/6 to 2013/14 the number of women taking Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics degrees rose by just 2 per cent, while take up for men across the same period grew by 24 per cent.
Neil Todd of Thompsons Solicitors commented “The report underlines how far away we are from pay parity between men and women. On 14 July 2015 the government opened consultation on a mandatory requirement for gender pay gap reporting amongst employers with at least 250 employees. However as the TUC has made clear this is likely to achieve little if the information is buried away in a report. Gender pay gap information needs to be shared with trade unions and employees and it needs to be detailed enough to make it possible to identify what the causes of the pay gap are. It is only then that steps can be taken to try and tackle the problem in any given organisation.”
To view the ONS figures, go to: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_424052.pdf
To read the UKCES report, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/477360/UKCES_Gender_Effects.pdf