gender pay gap 2019

The gender pay gap hit headlines in 2018 when it was revealed the UK had an average gender pay difference of 9.1%. So what are the latest gender pay gap statistics in 2019?

What is the gender pay gap?

The gender pay gap is the percentage difference between men’s and women’s median hourly earnings, looking at all jobs in an organisation or sector. It is not the difference between men and women’s pay for the same job, as is commonly thought. In the UK it is a legal requirement that a man and a woman doing the same job must receive equal pay, a law which has been in place for nearly 50 years.

The gender pay gap is more of an average, so if for example, we have a higher proportion of men in senior, well-paid roles, and of females in junior, lower paid roles, we will see a larger gender pay gap (in favour of men).

What are the latest gender pay gap figures?

The latest figures released in October 2018 show that the gender pay gap for full-time employees fell to 8.6%. Indeed, the gender pay gap is higher when you factor in ALL employees, coming in at 17.9%, caused mostly by the higher number of females working in part-time roles which are lower paid on average.

Interestingly, there is virtually no gender pay gap between full-time employees between the ages of 18 and 39, although it starts to increase after the age of 30 which coincides with a rise of females in part-time roles. It is presumed that this trend coincides with the age women leave full-time employment to raise children.

gender pay gap 2019 figures ONS

Gender pay gap by industry

There are some significant variations in the gender pay gap when comparing different sectors. The pay gap is widest in skilled trade occupations (23.9%), and process plant and machine operatives (19.1%). It is lowest in sales and customer service occupations (4.8%), as well as administrative and secretarial occupations (6.6%). Most notable though, is that the gender pay gap is in favour of men in ALL occupation groups.

Want to know how your job role fairs up in the gender pay gap? Use this interactive tool to find out.

Why does it matter to us?

When we wrote about the gender pay gap last year, we looked at the potential reason behind a history of gender inequality and discussed the role of unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias is the fundamental way we look at and make sense of the world around us. It is driven by the hard-wired pattern of making decisions about others based on what feels familiar, safe, likeable, valuable and competent to us (without even realising it). It relates to the times when we naturally feel a stronger affinity or trust with those that are similar to us, or things we are familiar with, such as gender, race, sexual orientation or education.

We discussed the potential historical significance of men being positioned into senior roles and whether consciously or unconsciously, these men were repeatedly drawn to recruiting more men to join or replace them.

When we work with our clients, we try to make them aware of an unconscious bias they may be making to enable them to make fairer decisions which remove any bias and therefore will have a greater impact on the bottom line. Learn more.

The 9 protected characteristics

We also highlighted that gender is only one of the 9 protected characteristics that can impact pay and opportunities in organisations. Gender inequality has thankfully become quite a transparent problem which is being addressed by the UK government and monitored on a regular basis – but what about the inequalities present in the other 8 protected characteristics?

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion and Belief
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership

In summary

We are really pleased to see the UK average gender pay gap fall for full-time employees and hope to continue to see this trend for years to come. We also hope to see more light being shed on opportunity gaps amongst the other protected characteristics, in order to close all gaps in future.

Being aware of your own unconscious biases and the impact they have on the workplace will lead to a more fair, diverse and equal workforce with equal opportunities. If you want help addressing any potential gaps or biases in your organisation, talk to Richard at Brightstone.

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