Gender pay gap shrinks as women begin to earn more

Posted on December 11th, 2010 | Categories - News

The difference between men and women’s pay has decreased.

Female earnings have grown closer to those of male employees.

The gender pay gap has shrunk to a record low, according to figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report shows that the median gap between men and women’s pay has contracted to a 10.2% figure – the lowest amount since the ONS’s records began in 2007.

The median hourly earnings of men rose by 0.3% to £13.01. Women, on the other hand, experienced a 2.6% rise bringing their hourly median earnings up to £11.68.

Mark Williams, ONS statistician, said: “This year’s results continue the pattern we’ve seen in recent years of the gender pay gap tending to get narrower. In 1997 the gender pay gap in median earnings for full-timers was around 17 per cent and now it’s dropped to around 10 per cent”.

Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “The decrease in the gender pay gap shows how hard businesses are working to deliver equality in the workplace, without the need for mandatory audits”.

The changes have been partially attributed to this year’s rise in public sector pay, which boosted the salaries of some female workers. However, a pay freeze will come into force next year, which could cause the gap to widen once again.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “With hundreds of thousands of female public servants set to lose their jobs, there are real fears that women’s income could start to fall as they struggle to find work in the private sector, where the gender pay gap is twice as high”.