Drive to equalise gender pay gap ‘going backwards’

Pay gap widest for older staff but is also widening for younger women

The gender pay gap is widening for some women and it will now take 100 years to close it, a campaign group has warned.

The Fawcett Society said younger as well as older female employees were now seeing their pay fall behind that of men, claiming that the drive to equalise pay is “going backwards”.

The group dubbed Friday Equal Pay Day - the day in the year when women start to work for free because of the difference in the pay of men and women.

The date has not changed for three years, showing the lack of progress, said the society.

CEO Sam Smethers said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.

“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know that younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”

Figures show that the gender pay gap based on median hourly earnings for full-time employees fell to 9.1%, from 9.4% in 2016, but for full and part-time workers the figure increased by 0.2% to 18.4%.

The gap is wider for women in their fifties, at 18.6%, but has significantly grown among women in their twenties - from 1.1% in 2011 to 5.5% this year, said the society.

More than half of female workers said they felt unprepared for retirement, as evidence emerges of a gender savings gap, according to research by financial advice firm Close Brothers and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

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