The gender pay gap has varied over the years, but the median has now risen since last year.
By Ellie-Louise Style
In the past 20 years the gender pay gap has fallen dramatically, according to the Office of National Statistics, as in 1997 the median for the gap between men and women in Great Britain was 27.5 and now in 2017 the median is 18.4.
Although it looks positive across the years, the gap has in fact risen slightly since last year, as the median for 2016 was 18.2 and is now 18.4. The countries that increased the most from 2016 were England and Scotland, while Wales dropped from 16.1 last year to 14.8 this year.
This isn’t the first time that the gap in Great Britain has increased, as back in 2008 it increased from 21.9 to 22.5. The biggest increase that year was Wales, which rose from 19 to 20.3, and England increased from 22.2 to 23. However, Scotland went back down to one of its lowest records that year, which was 17.7.
A campaign group called Fawcett Society raised their concerns about this and said to the BBC that the progress in closing the pay gap had “stalled” and then went onto say how it could take up to 100 years to completely close the gap.
Jemima Olchawski who works at the society then told the BBC: “Finance has one of the biggest gender pay gaps, and that there will also be issues around care. Women still make up the vast majority of carers. So we need to see more support for fathers to take time out to be with their children or care for relatives.”
The gender pay gap is still a major issue for women across the country. Some counties have even seen an increase from when the data started being recorded in 1997, for instance Derby has increased by 2. Plus, Wokingham has also increased by 5.
However, these are not the most affected regions, as Ribble Valley in the north of the country recorded their median for 2017 to be 50.2, which is currently the highest in the country. This is also not so far off from the highest record off all time, as in 1999 Redcar and Cleveland set the record of a staggering 53.5 median.
Brighton and Hove is one of the regions that have seen the most dramatic change over the past 20 years with the gender pay gap. In 1997 the median for the area was at 15.7, and now it has dropped down to 5.7. This is a slight increase to one of its better records from only two years ago where there was roughly only a 0.1 difference between the pay of men and women in the area.
If you would like to see how the gender pay gap has changed over the years, or what it is like now, please click on the area you live in on the map. Some counties data was not available by the National Office of Statistics and has been labelled as ‘x’ or the counties will not be clickable.
Even women that work in well-known industries, like the BBC fall victim to the gender pay gap. In fact it was revealed earlier this year that men that work there earn roughly 9.3% more than women. This led to many female stars that work for the company, including Clare Balding and Victoria Derbyshire to sign an open letter to the director general Tony Hall, which asked the corporation to “act now” over the gap.
Siobhan Endean, the Gender Equality Officer for Unite the Union said: “There’s a government survey every year about pay, and every year it demonstrates that women are earning about 77%-80% of full time pay compared to what men are.”
She then went onto discuss some of the causes of the gap between men and women: “If you work in part time work it’s even worse, so there is high evidence out there that women are not being paid equally to men. There’s a whole host of reasons for that, the biggest one, which is actually just gender pay discrimination and there’s pay secrecy, which makes it very hard to find out what somebody is being paid who’s next to you at work.”
“There are issues around the gender pay gap, as it can be quite small if you’re in your 20’s, but it grows when you’re in your 30’s and gets biggest when you’re in your 40’s and 50’s. Therefore as women go through their careers they are likely to earn less and less and less.”
However, as of early April 2018 each company across the UK will have to publish data revealing their gender pay gaps to their employees, which must include the roles at the workplace and each individual salary of that role. If they fail to reveal the data they will be breaching the new laws.
Even though some companies have already published their data if the other companies do fail to publish the information they could risk facing unlimited fines and even convictions. So far only 493 out of the 9,000 eligible organisations have already published their data.
The government will be publishing guidelines about how to report gender pay gap data later this month, so if companies are still seeking advice about the correct process this will be able to help and advise them.