ONS latest | Fight for parity suffers blow as gender pay gap widens

Fight for parity suffers blow as gender pay gap widens

The average pay disparity between male and female UK workers has grown since last year, new figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the gap in earnings has stretched to more than 8%, up from 7.7% in April 2021. However, this is still down from 9% in April 2019. In addition, the stats show that the gender pay gap is at its most between the highest earning male employees and their female equivalents – an eye-watering 15.5% difference in pay. However, that gap fell dramatically to a 3% gap among the lowest earners.

It’s not all bad news for high earning women, however. The difference in earnings between male and female managers, directors and senior officials, has dropped to 10.6% in 2022 from 16.3% in 2019 – although there’s still a long way to go to pay equality.

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Additionally, the gap is particularly stark for older members of the workforce. Full-time workers aged between 40 and 49 witnessed a 10.9% pay gap, compared with 3.2% or less for those under 40.

‘We must maintain a stark focus’

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft, shared her thoughts on the latest figures: “Resolving gender disparity is complex and has become even more so by the events of the past two years, which have disproportionately affected women across all facets of their professional lives. Until now, the impact of the pandemic on women’s progress has been hard to quantify, however these latest gender pay gap figures highlight exactly why it’s important we maintain a stark focus on gender parity.”

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Nowakowska added: “Clearly, we need to address the gender pay gap head on if we are to ensure that women don’t lose the important ground they’ve gained in corporate hierarchies. Accountability should lie with everyone, and the gender pay gap reporting deadline is a valuable benchmarking tool that not only ensures companies can recognise and improve upon their pay gap, but from which employees can monitor and advocate for change.

“To close the gap, employers should ensure that female employees have the opportunity to expand their role towards higher-paying positions. This could mean reviewing how your organisation facilitates professional development, addressing unconscious bias or reviewing flexible working policies. Pay equity is achievable, but only if organisations are aware of their current position and take action to close the gap. As these latest results reflect, we must put our foot on the pedals of change to drive progress quicker.”

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