The gender pay gap for full-time employees has fallen to 9.1%, down from 9.4% in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS says average weekly earnings for full-time employees in the UK were £550, up 2.2% from £539 in 2016. For part-time employees average weekly also increased, from £177 in 2016 to £182 in 2017 (up 2.9%).
However, adjusted for inflation, full-time workers’ weekly earnings decreased by 0.4% compared with 2016.
The ONS says earnings (not adjusted for inflation) in 2017 rose by more among the lowest paid workers, up 3.5% compared with 2016.
Average weekly earnings for full-time employees in the private sector were £532 (up 2.8% on 2016) compared with £599 (up 0.9%) for the public sector. Average weekly earnings for full-time workers were highest in London (£692) and lowest in Wales, North East, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and The Humber, and East Midlands (all approximately £500). In 2017, the average rate grew most in East Midlands (3.4%) and least in Yorkshire and The Humber (0.8%).
Patrick Woodman, head of research for the Chartered Management Institute, welcomed the fall in the gender pay gap, but said more needed to be done to address the higher gap at senior management level: “The ONS data shows a welcome narrowing of the gender pay gap, but the picture is much less rosy for women the higher up the ranks you go with a 26% pay gap for chief executives and senior managers. According to our research, there is a 27% pay gap among the UK’s 3.3m managers, where men outnumber women three to one. The lack of progress for women into more senior roles is one of the biggest causes of this gender pay gap. There’s a huge prize for businesses that get this right, because equal representation of men and women could add £150bn to the UK economy in the next 10 years.
“Transparency is a great driver for change. We urge the 98% of businesses that have yet to publish their pay gap data under the new government regulations to step up and put plans in place to fix the issue.”
Maria Miller, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, says: “The Gender Pay Gap has narrowed, but progress is not fast enough. Women in the workplace still see no sign of being paid the same as their male counterparts in the years to come. Flexible working, sharing unpaid caring responsibilities and supporting women returning to work after having children are all key to tackling the problem.”