Published On: Wed, Oct 30th, 2019

Gender pay gap widens for older women, new research shows | Personal Finance | Finance

The difference in salaries between men and women aged 40 to 49 is 11 per cent, rising to 15 per cent for those aged 50 to 59 and above 60. However, the gender pay gap for full-time employees aged under 40 is now “close to zero”, according to the Office for National Statistics. Statisticians say the difference is due to women over the age of 40 being “more likely” to work in lower-paid jobs and being less likely to work as managers, compared with younger women.

The gender pay gap for all full-time workers in the UK has increased to 8.9 per cent – up from 8.6 per cent last year.

That was the lowest level since records began in 1997, when it stood at 17.4 per cent, the ONS analysis found.

The difference in pay of all men and women workers – including those in part-time jobs – has fallen from 17.8 per cent in 2018 to 17.3 per cent in 2019.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said closing the pay gap would take “decades” at the current rate.

She said: “Government must pick up the pace. It’s clear that publishing gender pay gaps isn’t enough on its own. Companies must also be legally required to explain how they’ll close them.”

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, said: “Progress to close the gender pay gap is dismally slow – at this rate it will take 60 years to eradicate it.

“Too many women are trapped in low-paid part-time work or locked out of non-traditional sectors, while others experience pay or pregnancy discrimination.”

Average weekly earnings for full-time employees has increased by 2.9 per cent to £585 from last year, but after inflation is taken into account, the increase is just 0.9 per cent.

And, in real terms, they are still 2.9 per cent lower than the peak in 2008, which was £603 in today’s prices.

For the first time, weekly earnings for women peaked for those aged 40 to 49 in 2019.

Full-time weekly earnings were the highest in the City of London at £1,052.

Weekly earnings were lowest in Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, at £431.

The number of full-time employees who experienced a real-term pay decrease fell from 43.3 per cent in 2018 to 35.7 per cent in 2019.

READ MORE: State pension claimants will get extra payment this Christmas

KAY Collins was horrified to learn she was being paid less than a male colleague, even though she had more responsibilities.

Mrs Collins was earning £16,000 a year while her workmate was on £21,000.

The 58-year-old from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, was forced to go to Bristol Employment Tribunal last year after her employers, the catering giant Compass Group UK and Ireland, refused to increase her salary.

“It was really upsetting to find that someone less experienced and less qualified and 12 years younger than me was earning more money than I was,” she said.

“Fighting for equal treatment can be a real battle. It’s had a major effect on my health and lifestyle. I’m no longer working and have no income as I’m years away from my pension.

“My husband William, who is 69, has been forced to work well past retirement.”

The tribunal found in Mrs Collins’ favour, saying she had performed “the same or broadly similar work” to that of male head chefs and was entitled to equal pay.

Ms Collins said: “Even if your employer refuses to accept your position, this doesn’t mean they are right.”

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