Pay gap stagnant as women's unemployment continues to rise
Posted on: Wednesday 23rd November 2011Anna Bird, Acting Chief Executive at the Fawcett Society said:
"More than 40 years after the Dagenham machinists went on strike, in a move that triggered the Equal Pay Act, women can still expect to earn less than their male counterparts.
"We have become used to slow, steady progress towards gender equality but today's figures are more evidence that progress is stalling. The average gap in pay is virtually unchanging, with the mean earnings gap stuck at 15 per cent. For every hundred pounds men take home, women on average take home around £85.(1)
"The gender pay gap in the private sector is still significantly greater than in the public sector (2). With the government focus now on boosting enterprise and private sector growth, there is a real risk that the pay gap will widen in the years ahead unless there is concerted action to tackle pay inequality.
"With a record number of women out of work - 1.09 million women are unemployed (3) - and a persistent, stagnant gap in pay between women and men, the government needs to take action. The Fawcett Society calls on government to publish a strategy for women's employment, that seeks to protect women's access to work and deliver equal pay and fair working terms and conditions. The government must also make headway with plans to broaden flexible working rights to all employees and reform parental leave as set out in the Modern Workplaces consultation, which will contribute to a more equal society."
(1) ONS statistics found: Men's mean hourly earnings were £16.44, up 1.1 per cent from £16.27 in 2010. Women's mean hourly earnings increased by 1.8 per cent to £14.00 compared with £13.75 in 2010.
This means that the gender pay difference has shifted slightly from 15.5 per cent in 2010 to 14.9 per cent in 2011.
The Office for National Statistics prefers to use the median calculation of the gender pay gap, which neutralises the effect of having a small group of very highly paid male employees (CEOs in the private sector are overwhelmingly men) and a concentration of women in the lowest paid jobs (including school midday assistants - the ONS press release highlights the widening gap between these lowest paid and highest paid occupations). Fawcett uses the mean, because it allows the extreme pay levels at either end of the scale to be factored in.
(2) The gap in the public sector stands at 13.2 per cent; in the private sector this stands at 20.4 per cent. These figures are ascertained using the following calculation:
Public sector: [(Male full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 18.22 per cent - female full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 15.81) / male full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 18.22 per cent] x 100 = 13.2 per cent.
Private sector: [(Male full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 15.92 per cent - female full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 12.67) / male full-time hourly pay excluding overtime of 15.92 per cent] x 100 = 20.4 per cent.
The full ONS report can be downloaded here.