‘Lack of higher paid part-time jobs contributing to gender pay gap’

Two ONS studies out today show how a lack of full-time well-paid jobs is contributing to the gender pay gap and highlight the difficulty in bridging that gap.

Definition of 'part-time' in dictionary


The gender pay gap among full-time employees has changed little since 2012, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

It says the full-time gender pay gap now stands at 8.9%, up from 8.6% last year, and points out that there has been a decline of only 0.6 percentage points since 2012.

The gender pay gap among all employees, including part-time workers, fell from 17.8% in 2018 to 17.3% in 2019 and continues to decline.

The figures show that the gap is proving particularly stubborn among the older age group. For age groups under 40 years, the gender pay gap for full-time employees is now close to zero while among 40- to 49-year-olds the gap (currently 11.4%) has decreased substantially over time.

However, among 50- to 59- year-olds and those over 60 years, the gender pay gap is over 15% and is not declining strongly over time.

The ONS says: “One of the reasons for differences in the gender pay gap between age groups is that women over 40 years are more likely to work in lower-paid occupations and, compared with younger women, are less likely to work as managers, directors or senior officials.”

Another ONS report, out today, highlights how low-paid part-time jobs, usually done by women, are contributing to the gender pay gap. It shows that there are three times as many low paid part-time jobs as low paid full-time jobs.

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Flexible working campaigners have long been calling for more action to create and advertise flexible senior roles so that those who want or need to work part time can use their experience and access higher paid roles.

The ONS report also says that, on an hourly earnings basis, the proportion of low-paid employee jobs fell to 16.2% in 2019. The proportion of high-paid jobs remained stable at around 26%. The largest decrease in the proportion of low-paid employee jobs compared with 2000 was in Scotland.

It adds, however, that while the number of low-paid jobs by hourly pay is on a downward trend, hours worked per week for low-paid employee jobs have fallen more quickly year-on-year when compared with all employee jobs.

The report says the highest earning full-time employee jobs were paid almost five times as much per hour (excluding overtime) as the lowest paid, although this has narrowed in the past five years.

Another finding was that the number of jobs paid below the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage decreased over the year to 425,000 employee jobs.

Meanwhile, analysis of ONS figures by thinkmoney looked at the geographical distribution of part-time roles. It found that the ‘part-time gender bias’ is more prevalent in the North-East where women are responsible for almost three-quarters (71%) of all part-time roles, compared to a UK average of 65%. London has the least ‘part-time gender bias’. Women account for 51% of part-time roles whereas men make up 49%.

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