Men earn £1m by the age of 50. For women it's 69

Study highlights the disparity in earnings between genders

Updated: 
Financial advisor with british currency

The average male worker has earned their first £1 million by the time they have reached 56 years and six months old, according to research.

But women need to wait around 19 years longer than men to reach the £1 million milestone, with the typical female worker being aged 69 years and seven months old by the time she has done so, compared with an average age of 50 years and eight months old for men, Prudential found.

Rising incomes for women mean that, over the course of the last year, they have shaved an average of nine months off the time it takes them to earn £1 million over the course of their career. Men are earning their first million only a week earlier than they were when similar analysis was carried out last year.

Prudential based its calculations on Office for National Statistics (ONS) earnings figures. The age at which someone would earn £1 million is calculated before tax is taken into account. The average worker would pay around £212,300 in tax and national insurance by the time they had made their first million, Prudential said.

It also estimated the length of time it would take for people working in different industries to earn £1 million. People working in finance were found to take the fastest amount of time to earn £1 million, being around 41 years old when they did so.

At the other end of the scale, someone working in the accommodation and food service industries would need to work until the age of 94 typically before they earned £1 million, the research suggests.

People working in information and communications are around 47 by the time they have made their first £1 million, while construction workers are aged 52, education workers are 62, people in health and social work are 63, garage and admin workers are 65 and people in the arts, entertainment and recreation industries are 67 years old on average by the time they have earned their first £1 million.

Stan Russell, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: "Earning £1 million in a lifetime may seem improbable to most people when they start out on the career ladder, but with steadily increasing earnings and longer working lives it is a milestone that is becoming more achievable."

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan said: "I'm delighted that the gender pay gap has fallen to its lowest rate on record, and been virtually eliminated for women under 35 working full-time.

Young female workers now paid more than male counterparts

"However I want to see the pay gap fall further. This includes supporting more women into the highest paid careers and helping them progress up the career ladder.

"We have announced in the Queen's Speech ... that we are extending free childcare for parents of three- and four-year-olds from 15 to 30 hours a week during term time to make it more affordable for working parents.

"This is in addition to introducing shared parental leave and extending the right to request flexible working, to ensure more women can balance having a family with work.

"We will also require larger companies to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees."

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