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New statistics show that gender pay gap has reduced to 19.1%

The gender pay gap has reduced further, according to new statistics released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, which show a reduction of 0.7% percentage points between 2013 and 2014.

There are more women at work than ever before, and for full time work, the gender pay gap has reduced to almost zero for those under 40.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said:

“I am delighted that the gender pay gap has reduced by 0.7% percentage points. However it needs to reduce further, and the government will continue to take action.

“Women are vital to our economic growth and we need to make the most of their skills at every age. We have more women in work than ever before, but businesses need to value diversity in their workforce and pay attention to the role of women in their organisations.”

Minister for Women and Equalities and Business Jo Swinson said:

“It’s great that the gender pay gap has reduced. We are taking more action to support women in the work place than ever before; last week announced measures to help businesses analyse their pay gap and empower women to challenge their employers if they feel they are not being paid correctly.

“We have extended the right to request flexible working and are introducing shared parental leave and tax free childcare from next year. This will give women the choice to return to work, and help to change the culture of workplaces.”

One of the main causes of the gender pay gap is that men tend to work in better paid sectors to women. To help women move from low paid, low skilled work into higher paid, higher skilled work, the government has invested £2 million to fund a training and mentoring programme of events for women, including those working part-time and older workers, to be carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It will target women working in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), retail and hospitality management and agricultural sectors.

The government is also taking action to tackle a second cause of the pay gap – career breaks, often to raise a family. The government has extended flexible working to all employees, and from next year, tax free childcare and shared parental leave will come into effect.

To tackle the cause of discrimination in the workplace, the government will make free software available to all UK companies from next year, which will enable companies to calculate their gender pay gap easily, and identify issues that may be preventing women from rising up in companies.

Guidance has also been published to help women to compare their salaries with their colleagues, and empower them to take on their bosses if they are being paid less than their male counterparts.

The government is also strengthening the Think, Act, Report initiative, launched in 2011 to encourage companies to use new tools and guidance to collect and publish data on three specific issues:

  • female representation at different levels within the company;
  • the company’s overall gender pay gap; and
  • the gender pay gap broken down by grade and job type.

A report published recently, Think, Act, Report – Mending the Gap, shows that over the last three years, 260 companies, with a combined total of 2.5 million employees have signed up, including Marks and Spencer, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and Glaxo SmithKline.

Notes to editors:

  1. Further details on government policies announced in November are available here: Government announces £2 million fund to help close gender pay gap
  2. Further details on Think, Act, Report are available here: Creating a fairer and more equal society
  3. The government has taken action to address some of the major causes of the gender pay gap:
    • women are concentrated in less well paid professions than men
    • women get less far up the ladder in those professions – especially after career breaks
    • women are sometimes less well paid when they are in similar positions to men
  4. The ONS calculates the gender pay gap by analysing the median average pay of employees. The median is the preferred measure of average when looking at earnings. It is less skewed by a small number of people who are very high earners, and therefore more representative of the average persons experience
  5. The data compares the average total salaries of men and women, without taking into account the number of hours worked, or the level of job. It does not directly compare the salaries of men and women doing identical jobs.
  6. For the first time, the pay has been calculated including all employees earning less than £111 a week. Previously some of these employees were not included. For more information please see Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014 Provisional Results


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