Work commute could contribute to gender pay gap

Women are more likely to leave their jobs as a result of their commute to work

In The Commuter Gap report, has highlighted potential disparities between men and women when it comes to their daily commutes.

The study explored Office for National Statistics data for both men’s and women’s commuting times against their age and pay.

Figures reflected women are more likely than men to accept lower-paid positions in favour of a shorter commute, contributing to the overall gender pay gap.

Women with a 60-minute commute are 29% more likely to leave their current job compared with someone doing a 10-minute commute. Whereas men with an hour-long commute are 24% more likely to leave their job than someone with a 10-minute commute. The research posited that women therefore may not be travelling further afield to where there are higher-paid jobs.

It found that men’s and women’s earnings and commute lengths peak at different ages, with women earning substantially less when their commuting time is longest than when men’s is at its longest.

Women’s commutes peak at a median of 21.92 minutes and they earn a median of £418.63 a week at that time. Although men’s commutes peak at a slightly longer median of 25.6 minutes, their median weekly earnings are far higher at £652.72.

Reducing hours, getting a job closer to home or stopping work altogether to start a family may also have an impact. Researchers found that women were reducing their commutes from age 31 onwards. This correlates with data showing that in 2018 the 30 to 34 age group was the largest of those giving birth (32% of all births).

“As the main providers of childcare and unpaid work women tend to favour the flexibility offered by a shorter commute,” stated The Commuter Gap report.

“On the other hand men are more likely to tolerate a longer journey to work in return for higher pay. This combination contributes to men doing the majority of high-paid jobs, which in turn contributes to the overall gender pay gap.”