Gender pay gap shows narrow fall


The gender pay gap has fallen slightly to 9.4%, the lowest since 1997, but little has changed for the past four years, figures have shown.

The difference between the median earnings of full-time men and women workers fell by 0.2% compared with last year.

A similar trend was found for full and part-time employees, where the gap remained unchanged at 19.2%, the Office for National Statistics reported.

Campaigners said that on the current rate of progress, it will be decades before women earn the same as men.

The figures showed that median weekly earnings for full-time workers were £528 in April, an increase of £10 or 1.8% on the previous year, following annual growth of 0.2% the previous year.

Adjusted for inflation, weekly earnings rose by 1.9% on last year, the first increase since 2008.

The bottom 10% of full-time workers earned less than £297 a week, while the top 10% were paid more than £1,035.

There were 209,000 jobs that paid less than the national minimum wage in April -  0.8% of all jobs, down from 222,000 last year.

Around 115,000 of the jobs were held by full-time workers.

The gender pay gap remains virtually eliminated for women under 40 and has fallen for all women over 40 in full-time employment, said the Government.

In England, the gender pay gap is the highest in the South East at 22% and lowest in London at 16.3%.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said: "We have been clear that you can't have true opportunity without equality and that's why eliminating the gender pay gap is a key priority for this government.

"These figures confirm the need for us to drive forward change. That's why we are working with business to ensure all large employers publish gender pay gap information, including bonuses.

"And most importantly we'll tackle the underlying causes of the gender pay gap. We will ensure that women are given the support they need to progress from the classroom right through to the boardroom."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Progress on closing the full-time gender pay gap has slowed dramatically over the last few years. If it continues to fall at this pace, we're looking at nearly half a century before we have pay parity between women and men.

"But when you look at the whole workforce measure of the gender pay gap, including both part- and full-time workers, the last 12 months have seen no progress at all.

"Women need a labour market that doesn't discriminate against them. Stronger action is still needed. While bringing in mandatory pay gap reporting is a welcome step, it must not be delayed. David Cameron should extend the law to medium-size companies as well as large employers, and companies that don't comply with the law should be fined."