Gender pay gap closes slightly

The gender pay gap has narrowed following a rise in the hourly pay of females, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Its 2010 Annual survey of hours and earnings show that median weekly pay for full-time employees in the UK grew by 2.1% in the year to April 2010, to reach £499. Median earnings of full-time male employees were £538 per week in April 2010, compared to £439 for women.

This means the gender pay gap for full-time employees reduced from 12.2% to 10.2% in the year ending in April.

Meanwhile, median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were highest among 40 to 49-year-olds at £560. Male employees reached their highest earnings in this age group at £614, whereas women reached their highest earnings for 30 to 39-year-olds at £508. Earnings increased until employees reached these age groups and steadily decreased thereafter.

Charles Cotton, adviser on performance and reward at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “We should treat the findings with an element of caution. The smaller gap is a reflection of the state of the economy between April 2008 and April 2009, when many men were impacted by pay freezes and cuts. 

“Between these dates, by contrast, women saw their pay rise relatively faster, as they are more likely to be covered by public sector deals or increases linked to the national minimum wage. The fear is this gap could widen as the private sector starts to power ahead in 2011.”

For more articles on the gender pay gap