COVID widens UK's gender pay gap

·2 min read
There remains a large difference in gender pay gap between employees aged 40 years and over and those aged below 40 years. Photo: Getty
There remains a large difference in gender pay gap between employees aged 40 years and over and those aged below 40 years. Photo: Getty

COVID caused a blip in the narrowing of the UK's gender pay gap, with stats showing it had worsened by 0.9 percentage points in the year to April 2021.

According to new figures by the ONS, among full-time employees the gender pay gap in April 2021 was 7.9%. It was 7.0% in April 2020 and 9.0% in April 2019.

That means that in April 2021 full-time working men earned 7.9% more than women.

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of men's average hourly earnings (excluding overtime). It is a measure across all jobs in the UK, not of the difference in pay between men and women for doing the same job.

Watch: Why do we still have a gender pay gap?

The ONS recommends looking at the longer-term trend due to the fact that COVID has caused a number of statistical anomalies. 

Statistics in this bulletin relate to the pay period that includes 21 April 2021, at which time approximately 3.7 million employees were on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), this is fewer than during the period covered by last year's release when approximately 8.8 million employees were furloughed.

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The ONS said that although the gender pay gap is up since 2020 when wages and hours were affected by the pandemic, the recent longer-term trend in the gender pay gap is continuing downwards.

There remains a large difference in gender pay gap between employees aged 40 years and over and those aged below 40 years.

The ONS said that compared with lower-paid employees, higher earners experience a much larger difference in hourly pay between the sexes.

The managers, directors and senior officials occupation group has experienced the largest fall in gender pay gap since the pre-pandemic April 2019 figure, in particular for those aged 50 years and over; this group has previously been identified as having a notable impact on the pay gap.

Looking regionally, the gender pay gap is higher in every English region than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Watch: How To Negotiate A Pay Rise

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