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Bridging gender gap would add £0.6 trillion to GDP

Government research warns against conflating equal pay with the gender pay gap, and reports that 61% of the quarter of jobs that pay least are held by women

The UK could add £0.6 trillion (£600 billion) annually to its GDP by fully bridging the gender gap, according to a report from the government.

The Trailblazing Transparency: Bridging the Gap report found the average pay gap is now 19.2% in the UK, with women making up 61% of the quarter of jobs that pay the least, and only 39% of the quarter of jobs that pay the most.

The research also warned against conflating equal pay with the gender pay gap. While paying men and women differently on the basis of gender for the same job is illegal in the UK, lower paid jobs are more likely to be filled by women, and women may be hindered in their career by other biases, the report explained.

Speaking at Deloitte’s Pay Transparency event, secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities Nicky Morgan said that the business case for equality is clear. “It’s not just for women alone to fight for this,” she said. “We need you to address this pay gap so you can make the changes you want to see in society.

“Women who don’t feel valued [in your business] will simply look elsewhere – and who can blame them?” she added.

Discussing workplace culture in the report Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte UK, stated that there will not be sustainable change at senior level without ensuring a company provides an inclusive culture. “A challenge for many diversity programmes is that they are focused on specific actions or programmes in isolation, rather than addressing the required underlying cultural shift needed to make a lasting difference,” she said.

Chartered Management Institute CEO Ann Francke, warned that gender bias in the workplace is still alive and well. The number of women in management positions “looks kind of like a pyramid,” she said, with a large number of women in lower management positions, some in mid-level positions, but fewest at the top. “Pay, on the other hand, looks like an inverse pyramid, with the small number at the top earning far more than those at the bottom. It’s certainly time to do something about this.

“Don’t be afraid to call out instances of gender bias,” she added. “It might not be intentional, but it starts that discussion.”