Gender pay gap widens

Women have slipped further behind men in the pay stakes. The gender pay gap is now 12.8% compared with 12.5% in 2007 and the median gross annual earnings is now 27,500 for men and 21,400 for women.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows, in the year up to April 2008, men's median full-time hourly earnings increased by 4.4% compared with a 4.1% increase for women. Men now earn a median £12.50 per hour (compared with £11.97 last year) and women earn a median £10.91 (compared with £10.48 last year).
Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "These figures, showing the pay gap between full-time male and female employees widened in the year to April, is most disappointing and a blow to progress towards equality. The poor year for women in the workforce is further exacerbated by relatively small increases in the pay of part-time workers and public-sector workers, categories where women are in the majority.
"Even greater effort will need to be made by employers and Government to narrow the gap. But it is simplistic to conclude the gender pay gap is the result of overt pay discrimination by employers. The gap reflects variations in the type of jobs done by men and women, different working patterns and, in particular, the impact of child and eldercare on women's career choices and hours of work. All these factors need to be taken into account when devising changes to policy and practice designed to close the gap."