Young women beat men in pay stakes as gender pay gap falls below 10%

24 Nov

The pay gap between men and women has fallen below 10% for the first time ever – with young women outpacing men in the pay stakes, according to the 2011 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics.

The gender pay gap for men and women working full time fell from 10.1% in April last year to 9.1% in April this year. Women’s earnings have increased by 1.9% compared with a 0.8% increase for men. However, when we take into account part-time earnings, the pay gap for all employees is 19.5%, down from 19.8% last year. Analysis in the Telegraph suggests that women’s pay could overtake men’s by 2020 at this current rate of growth.

However, the pay picture isn’t that pretty for women the older they get. While women in their 20s earn 3.6% more per hour than men of the same age, by the time they reach their 40s the pay gap is 15.6% – perhaps indicating that families and flexible or part-time working becomes more prevalent in that decade. These figures also back up recent statistics from the CMI suggesting that while female junior execs are doing well financially, their older female bosses may have to wait 100 years for pay parity.

So while the narrowing gender pay gap is of course good news, the reality is still tough, as the TUC’s Brendan Barber reminds us: “With female unemployment at a 23-year high, the main concern for many women will be keeping jobs, let alone securing higher pay.”

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