Gender Pay Gap; Best and Worst Offenders

Men and women have been paid differently for decades, with organisations such as Full Fact (the UK’s independent fact checking charity) emphasising that even in this day and age, women in full time employment earn £1.32 per hour less than their male counterparts, and women in part time jobs earn a whopping £2.52 less per hour than their male colleague. The recent enforcement of mandatory pay gap reporting not only shed a light on this very important issue in the UK, but consequently also highlighted companies and industries who are the best and worst offenders in the country.

The sectors with the worst gender pay gaps are also those which tend to be more male dominated as it is. Instead of encouraging women to join these sectors by offering them attractive salaries, the following sectors instead pay women significantly less than men. The financial and insurance sector is the worst offender with an average gender pay gap of 25.9%; next on the list is the construction sector with an average gender pay gap of 21.6%, and following close behind is the mining and quarrying sector at 21.1%. Surprisingly, the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which unlike the other industries does host its share of successful women, still shamefully has a high gender pay gap average of 19.6% as well. The information and communication sector also has a high gender pay gap average at 19.4%.

The gravity of this situation was honed in on when in July this year the BBC published its list of high earners’ salaries. Out of a list of 22 people, there were only two women as opposed to 20 men. The situation can be considered pretty grim when the silver lining is not a list of industries in which women are paid equally or more, but a list of industries in which the gender pay gap is not as glaring.

The water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities industry has come out on top with the smallest gender pay gap at an average of 5.5%. Public administration and defence – compulsory social security follows at an average gender pay gap of 8.2%; accommodation and food services were calculated to have a gender pay gap of 8.4%, and 9.8% and 10.3% for human health and social work activities and transport and storage respectively.

From this recent data, it is obvious that the problem of underpaying women as compared to men is rife in every sector in the UK, if not worldwide. It is time that not only industries and companies take notice of this problem, but individuals stand up for themselves and demand to be treated and compensated equally.

Know Your Worth

According to research conducted by the Princeton Press, women routinely show less confidence in themselves which can result in them receiving lower compensation. A Hewlett Packard internal survey proved that women applied for jobs for which they felt they fulfilled 100% of the qualifications, whereas men applied for roles in which they met even 60% of the experience required. Furthermore according to the Independent, after graduating college, men estimated their starting salary to be at £22,988 versus female graduates who estimated it at £19,622. The 14% difference is then likely to follow both throughout their careers.

Are you paid more or less than your colleagues for doing the same role? How can individuals address this problem with their employees – lead the discussion on this important issue by sharing your thoughts with us.