Gender pay gap statistics
The gender pay gap fell to an all-time low of 7.4% among full-time employees in April this year, down from 9% in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The gap across all employees on all contract types fell to 15.5% from 17.4% in 2019, with this figure higher than that for full-time staff as a result of the number of women in part-time jobs with low hourly median pay.
The Gender pay gap in the UK: 2020 report, which looked at a snapshot of data from April this year, was based on a survey of 136,000 employees in the UK and is separate to annual gender gap reporting figures submitted by companies with 250 staff or more.
It stated that Covid-19 “did not have a notable impact on the gender pay gap in 2020” and that the shrinking gap reflected “underlying employment patterns”. These narrowing gaps masked significant differences between different age groups, however. The report stated: “The gender pay gap remained close to zero for full-time employees aged under 40 years but was more than 10% for older age groups.”
It also found that the pay gap was larger among higher earners compared to lower-paid employees.
The report came amid mounting pressure for more to be done to close the gender pay gap. The Equal Pay Information and Claims Bill 2020 brought before parliament last month called for women to have the right to know how much their male colleagues were paid, and for companies with at least 100 employees to report their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.
A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said the Government should force employers to publish action plans with specific targets and deadlines alongside their pay gap data. “This will help to address the additional pressures caused by the pandemic and contribute towards creating an environment where female employees can flourish. This in turn will demonstrate to employees, customers and shareholders a genuine commitment to equality and improving working practices,” they said.
The report also noted that the gender pay gap “was higher in every English region than in each of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”.