Male workers are paid on average 19% more than their female counterparts in almost all areas of the workforce, according to research from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).
Opportunities and outcomes in education and work: Gender effects found that women working in financial and insurance sectors as well as other professional roles are most affected by the gap in pay, with some earning almost 40% less than men.
There is also a large gap in what males and females are studying at university. From 2005/6 to 2013/14 the number of women taking science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees rose by just 2%, while take-up for men across the same period grew by 24%.
In some sectors the ratio of male to female workers has increased dramatically over the past decade. In computer science, for example, men now outnumber women almost five to one, which represents a 40% increase from 2005/6.
UKCES assistant director Vicki Belt said that the research drives home the reality of gender inequality at work in the UK. “In spite of women’s real achievements in education the gender pay gap stubbornly remains,” she said.
“Our research shows that occupational segregation is a key factor at play here. Women are under-represented in a range of sectors and occupations that offer higher paying roles – for example fewer than 10% of British engineers are female."
She added: “As almost a quarter of women work part-time they are also disproportionately affected by the low quality and poor progression opportunities offered by much part-time work.
“It is welcome that the government is moving to bring more transparency here, by introducing a requirement for the public sector and larger firms to publish information on gender pay differences. However, there is clearly more that could be done by employers, education providers, and careers advisers to create more and better opportunities for women and tackle patterns of occupational segregation."