The 10th November marked the point that women on an average wage stop being paid relative to their male counterparts – a date campaigners have aptly named ‘Equal Pay Day’.
The gender pay gap has been a contentious topic over the past few years, and as a result it has become the law for UK companies with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gaps by April 2018. All the data will eventually be available on a government database. It is hoped that by publishing this data it will encourage businesses to publish an action plan alongside their figures, to detail how they will address any problems.
All of this to combat the serious issue that women are, on average, paid 14.1% less than their male counterparts; that’s 85.9p for every £1 a man earns.
Variation across industry & region
The gender pay gap varies across industries and regions, and so the above statistics are just an average. The graph below shows the gender pay gap across regions of the UK.
One of the biggest gaps is in the finance sector, which is why you will see the City of London and Tower Hamlets high up. The BBC have also compiled a great infographic if you want to find out more about the gender pay gap in your area.
It’s important to note that there were 23 areas of the UK where women’s average pay was greater than men’s this year, including Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent. However, these areas have a high proportion of people out of work due to disability, unemployment or caring duties.
Not worse, but not better
Equal Pay Day falls on the same date this year as 2016 – a sign that things aren’t getting worse, but they haven’t improved either. In fact, for women in their 20’s the gender pay gap is five times wider today than it was six years ago, although older women still face larger discrimination than women at the start of their career. At the current rate of change, the gender pay gap will not close for 100 years.
Equal Pay – Equal support
So, what can be done to speed up the process of levelling the playing field? Jemima Olchawski of the Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality, observed that women still make up the vast majority of carers. She suggests one of the things we can do is to provide more support for fathers to take time out to be with their children or care for relatives, rather than depend solely upon mothers.
But what can you do? Social media is having an impact by putting the pressure on employers. The Fawcett Society is encouraging workers to use the hashtag #PayGapPledge and #EqualPayDay to highlight the issue and start a conversation within their workplace and in turn throughout society.
Written by Ellie Homan, Consultant at Veran Performance.