Statistics behind the gender pay gap
Women begin earning less than men on average after just five years in a role, according to official figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which attempt to offer context to the ongoing discussion around gender pay in the UK.
The report found that although women are paid 3.8% more than men on average when they are in a job for less than a year, by the time they have worked five years, a significant gender pay gap in favour of men has opened that continues throughout their careers. A man who works in the same organisation can expect to earn a 20.8% rise over that period, when other factors such as role are discounted, with the equivalent figure for women standing at 17.5%.
Full-time men earn more than full-time women on average across every occupation. The study suggested that job type has the largest impact on the pay gap, closely followed by age. The gap widens dramatically from the age of 40 – which correlates with the time women typically return to work after raising children – and peaks between 50 and 59, which aligns with the age they often step back from work to care for ageing parents.
Close to two-thirds of the UK’s overall gender pay gap, however, was ‘unexplained’, said the report, meaning it was not obviously affected by occupation, tenure, sector or other typical mitigating factors.
A very different pay gap picture is painted for freelancers and the self-employed, however as research has found the gender pay gap to be ‘virtually extinct’ among this group of workers.