The gap between men and women’s wages has widened for the first time since
According to the New Earnings Survey statistics by the Office for National
Statistics, women who work full-time earn just 81.2 per cent of the average
full-time male wage, compared to 81.5 per cent in 2001. They also show that
part-time female staff earn 58.9 per cent of the male full-time average hourly
wage, compared to 58.7 per cent in 2001.
The Office for National Statistics said the boost to low-earning women’s
salaries from last October’s increase in the minimum wage, was wiped out by the
impact of large pay rises for male professional and managerial workers in
The widening pay gap has also been attributed to big pay deals for the
City’s predominantly male workforce over the past year.
Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission Julie Mellor said: "Women
who work part-time pay a heavy price for not working the traditional
nine-to-five. Those in typical part-time jobs such as cleaning or catering,
which offer the flexible hours they need to look after their children, find
there are low hourly rates of pay. We just don’t put a proper value on these
types of jobs because they have traditionally been done by women," she
"Britain’s woeful record on pay has to change if we are ever to see a
more equal society. It will only change if companies of all sizes review the
way that they pay their staff. It is not enough to recognise the problem. Over
the longer term the Government needs to look at why women’s jobs remain
undervalued and underpaid."
The EOC has developed an Equal Pay Kit to help employers carry out pay
reviews, and also developed guidance for software producers developing IT
packages which can be used to assess companies’ pay systems.