Closing the Gender Pay Gap will take Centuries

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Closing the Gender Pay Gap will take Centuries

It is still a hot debate – does the gender pay gap exist? Despite the Equality Act 2010 many women are severely disadvantaged – working the same jobs and yet are paid less than their male counterparts. It’s a complex situation with statistics saying different things; some show that women are being paid less with little to no change in the gender pay over the years compared to males working the same job while some show that they are paid the same.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) the gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men’s earnings. For example, a 4.0% gender pay gap denotes that women earn 4.0% less per hour, on average, than men. Conversely, a negative 4.0% gender pay gap denotes that women earn 4.0% more, on average, then men.

The gender pay gap fell from 2017 to 2018, to stand at 8.6% among full-time employees. The gap among all employees is higher (17.9%), driven by more women working in part-time jobs, which are lower paid (an average hourly rate is £9.36 compared with £14.31, excluding overtime, for full-time jobs).

The difference in pay

Whilst both the gender gap and equal pay deal with the difference in pay women receive in the workplace, they are two different issues:

Equal pay

This means that men and women in the same job doing equal work must receive equal pay, as stated in the Equality Act 2010.

Gender pay gap

This is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation or the overall labour market. It is stated as a percentage of men’s earnings.

In the UK, there is an overall gender pay gap of 18.1%.

Research has shown that there are underlying factors which contribute to why women earn less these include;

  • There are inherent differences between a man and woman’s labour. Some women are mothers, and as such work fewer hours due to childcare and as a result take up less demanding jobs or jobs with flexible hours. These jobs generally tend to pay less than the more demanding job.
  • Age difference: According to the ONS, the gender pay gap for full time employment between the ages of 18-39 was found to be close to zero but became more apparent from the age of 40 upwards.
  • There are different levels of educational attainment by men and women which later cause a ripple effect into other elements of their life, such as workplace pay.

Causes of the gender pay gap

The causes of the gender pay gap are complex and interwoven.

Factors include:

Highest paid sectors are male-dominated

Whilst girls often do well at school, they have a tendency to end up concentrated in employment sectors that offer narrower scope for financial reward. Conversely, many of the highest paying sectors are disproportionately made up of male employees.

The Part-time work effect

Women often have a difference in years of experience of full-time work, or the negative effect on wages of having previously worked part-time, or of having taken time out of the labour market to raise children or care for a family.


Unconscious stereotyping, creates assumptions about women not wanting to accept promotion, or not being in a position to do so, especially where they have caring responsibilities. Whilst women account for 47% of the workforce, but only 35% of managers, directors and senior officials.

According to the World Economic Forum, it will take about 202 years before equal pay is achieved in all workplaces based on the current rate of progress.

If you think that male collegaues are being paid more than you for the same job then our no win no fee Employment Law Solicitors can assist with all types of claims. Naturally, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service to the highest standards, we offer free employment law advice on all problems. Call us on 08007566605 or02039234777