Are we any closer to true gender equality in the UK workplace?

Published on: Sat 22 October 2016 by Admin

The gender pay gap will not close in the UK for another 50 years!

Women will have to wait until 2069, nearly a century after the Equal Pay act was passed, to achieve monetary equality in the workplace.

According to a report by Deloitte, the difference in hourly pay between full-time men and women is closing at a rate of just 2.5p a year.

The pay gap for full time workers, in the UK, currently stands at 9.4% (its lowest ever) and the report puts this down to several factors:

  • Women are more likely to take jobs where pay is relatively low, such as in care
  • It is more likely for women take time out for family reasons
  • Women take more poorly paid part-time jobs when they return
  • Discrimination in the workforce?

Research by Andrew Chamberlain, Chief Economist of Glassdoor Economic Research, looks into the female-to-male labour force ratio, the proportion of female managers and the gender gap in employment rates by educational attainment across 18 countries.

It ranks Britain 11th out of the 18, falling behind the likes of the US, France, Spain and Sweden, Norway and Finland.

“Sweden, Norway and Finland all have an almost equal balance of men and women in the labour market and can be a lesson for the UK.” – Andrew Chamberlain

British working mothers seem to suffer the most; while the gender pay gap for women in the UK with no children is slightly more than 7%, for those with at least one child it leaps to 21%.

Are there any positives?

There is progression in some areas. In entry-level jobs, the gender split is very close; 46% held by women and 54% by men.

Furthermore, Britain had a high proportion of female managers at 35%, putting it third, behind only Sweden and Norway.

However, among vice presidents the gap widened to a 29-71% split, senior vice presidents stands at a 24-76% divide and in the C-suite 81 percent of executives are men and 19 percent women.

How to bring about change?

  • Quotas – Norway has the highest proportion of women on boards (36 per cent). This is owed partly to a legislation-based quota system introduced in 2006.
  • Matching parental leave policies to match maternity ones to avoid incentivising women to take leave rather than men
  • Making Gender Equality part of training and education

Cultural change is slow but something needs to be done to speed up the process. How do you believe this gender gap should be addressed?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.