Gender pay gap shrinks by less than 1%

The gender pay gap has narrowed since last year, but only by less than 1%, official figures reveal.

The 2005 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office of National Statistics, shows that gross annual earnings for men who work full-time were £25,100 (up 3.6% from £24,200 in 2004), and £19,400 for women who work full-time (up 4.8% from £18,600).

This means the gender pay gap narrowed 0.6% from 17.8% in 2004, to 17.2% in 2005.

The figures for the 12 months to April 2005 reveal that overall, the gross weekly earnings for all jobs were £337 – up 3% from £327 in 2004.

Gross hourly earnings excluding overtime were £10.68, up by 3.2% from £10.36 in 2004 for full-time jobs with adult rates where earnings were not affected by absence.

Part-time weekly earnings were £131, up by only 1.1%. This weaker growth was caused by a fall in part-time hours and partially by a fall in overtime earnings.

Jenny Watson, acting chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said: “The latest pay gap figures are grim. Thirty years on from the Equal Pay Act coming into force, the law has reached the limits of its usefulness. Unless radical new action is taken, another generation of women can expect to suffer the injustice of unequal pay.

“It is time for government to ask employers to take more proactive steps to address this persistent problem, through the introduction of a requirement on the private sector to promote sex equality and eliminate sex discrimination.”


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