Decrease in gender pay gap over past year

The gender pay gap for full-time employees has decreased over the last year, from 10.5% to 9.6% in 2011, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The Annual survey of hours and earnings 2012 found that women in full-time employment earned a median hourly wage of £12, a 2.2% increase from 2011, compared with men’s average earnings of £13.27, a 1.1% increase.

The report also found that women fare better than men in part-time work, with median gross hourly earnings (excluding overtime payments) of £8.12 compared with men’s £7.72. Looking overall at part and full-time workers, there is still a gap between men and women’s pay of 19.7%, however, this is down from 20.2% in 2011. According to the ONS, this figure is affected by the higher proportion of women than men who work in part-time jobs, because these tend to have lower hourly wages.

The report found that median gross annual earnings for a full-time employee increased by 1.4% from April 2011 to April 2012. In the year ending April 2012, median gross annual earnings stood at £26,500 and weekly earnings were up 1.5%.

The report also found that public sector workers, on average, earn more than those in the private sector. Median gross weekly pay for full-time public sector workers was up 1.6% to £565, while median gross weekly pay for full-time private sector employees increased by 1.5% to £479.

The ONS stated that the sector composition could account for this, because differences in gross weekly earnings do not reveal differences in rates of pay for comparable jobs. For example, many lower-paid roles, such as bar staff exist primarily in the private sector, while a larger proportion of graduate-level and professional roles are in the public sector.