Gender earnings gap still high at 40%

Gender pay gap submissions down 50% on last yearThe average mid-working-age UK woman earned 40% less than her male counterpart in 2019, research has revealed.

The study, which was carried out for the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ (IFS) Deaton Review of Inequalities, found the gender earnings gap was just 13 percentage points lower than in the mid-1990s.

The authors found that among those aged 20-55 who were not in education, had not retired and did not have a long-term illness, a lower proportion of women than men were in paid work at all; while women who were employed did an average of eight fewer hours per week than men and earned an average of 19% less for each hour they worked.

According to the research, more than three-quarters of the reduction in the earnings gap over the past 25 years can be explained by the rapid increase in women receiving higher education qualifications.

Gender gaps in overall earnings remained at their largest when comparing low-educated men and women, as women in this category were less likely to work for pay than men.

Monica Costa-Dias, deputy research director at IFS and an author of the report, said the findings confirmed that huge gender gaps remained across employment, working hours and wages.

“After accounting for the rapid improvement in women’s education, there has been almost no progress on gender gaps in paid work over the past quarter-century. Working-age women in the UK are now more educated than their male counterparts and it seems unlikely that we can rely on women becoming more and more educated to close the existing gaps,” she said.

Alison Andrew, a senior research economist at IFS and another author of the report, added: “Attitudes and norms surrounding the roles that women and men play in paid and unpaid work appear central to explaining persistent gender gaps.”