Gender pay gap still hitting hard

02 September 2016

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that women’s pay is, on average, 18% less than men’s – and it gets worse after childbirth.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that women’s pay is, on average, 18% less than men’s – and it gets worse after childbirth.

Fast-forward 12 years from the date a woman has her first child and her hourly wages will be (on average) a third less than a man’s. The gradual widening of the pay gap post-children may be related to the accumulation of labour market experience, the report says. By the time the first child is 20, women have been in paid work for, on average, four fewer years than men and they have spent nine years less than men in paid work of 20 hours per week or more.

When women return to work after taking time out, they get on average 2% lower hourly wages for each year they have been away. It’s a different picture for the lowest-educated women, however. Their wage progression is generally less and so they don’t suffer a similar percentage drop, and they have fewer skills to depreciate. In fact, it is only among the lowest-educated that the gender wage gap has continued to fall over the last 20 years. For graduates and women with A-levels, the gap has not shrunk.

We’ll soon see the introduction of gender pay gap reporting. It’s an obligation on certain large employers to publish annual information about the amount they pay their employees, from April 2017. Whether you are caught by that reporting requirement or not, we’d recommend a look over the IFS’s report.


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