Jobs with the largest gender pay gaps in the UK, revealed

Lawyer reading a document during a meeting with a customer, gender pay gap.
Barristers and judges have the biggest gender pay gaps in the UK, study finds. (Getty Images) (alvaro gonzalez via Getty Images)

The UK gender pay gap has declined over the past decade, but there are certain industries where men are still paid substantially more than women.

In fact, analysis of the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) gender pay gap report found that law is the most affected industry, with barristers and judges likely to have the largest gender pay gap.

To find these results, looked at the median hourly earnings for men and women across several occupations from the pool of 156,000 people analysed by the ONS, or 1% of the UK’s workforce.

It found that female barristers and judges earn £8.31 less per hour than their male counterparts, creating a 29.1% gender pay gap.

This was followed by financial managers and directors, as women working in these positions were likely to earn £11.56 less per hour than men, a gap of 28.8%.

Design professionals came in third with an average gender pay gap of 27.7%, with female designers earning £6.32 less on average than their male co-workers.

Jobs with the largest gender pay gaps in the UK

  1. Barristers and judges – 29.1%

  2. Financial managers and directors – 28.8%

  3. Web design professionals – 27.7%

  4. Production, factory and assembly supervisors – 26%

  5. Assemblers (vehicles and metal goods) – 23.5%

  6. Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electricians – 22.4%

  7. Education managers – 22%

  8. Nursery education teaching professionals – 21.2%

  9. Production managers and directors in construction – 21%

  10. Newspaper and periodical journalists and reporters – 20.6%

Female mechanics were found to make up to 22.4% less per hour than their male counterparts. (Getty Images)
Female mechanics were found to make up to 22.4% less per hour than their male counterparts. (Getty Images) (Peathegee Inc via Getty Images)

"It is interesting to see a significant gender pay gap across the ranking; it is especially prevalent in more traditionally male-orientated occupations, such as assemblers, vehicle technicians, mechanics, and electricians," a spokesperson for said.

"Nonetheless, findings from this study also revealed that high-paying and prestigious roles like barristers, judges, and finance directors shockingly had the largest gender pay gaps in 2023.

"Perhaps in 2024, studies like this will raise awareness of the gender pay gap and precipitate change in these industries, starting with pay reviews."

One recent YouGov poll found that British men are more likely to ask for a pay rise than women – and are more likely to have a successful outcome when they do so.

However, the majority of Brits have never asked for a pay rise, with 48% of men saying they haven’t, compared to 60% of women.

Gender pay gap: Read more