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The UK’s gender pay gap is gradually narrowing, with lower part-time earnings for men being a factor, according to a new report published by the Department for Education.
The report by researchers from the University of Manchester and City University of London is based on responses to the latest British Household Panel Survey and the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Survey.
The researchers found that the pay gap declined from 19% in 2007 to 13.4% in 2015. The report found part-time employment is contributing to a reduction in the pay gap as more men are doing low-wage part-time work than previously (11.9%, up from 9.7% in 2007).
There are also increased levels of women who have managed to negotiate a move to part-time employment with their current employer. The research found their wages are on average higher than those who have a career interruption before starting work on part-time hours with a new employer.
In spite of progress, UK women still earn an average of £1.62 less per hour than men, says the report. This is mainly attributed to women doing fewer years of full-time work. Men in full-time employment were found to have longer full-time work-histories (17.8 years) than women (13.2 years), and tend to have had little exposure to part-time employment or unpaid care work.
However, the report points out that 57p of the gap is ‘unexplained’, and the authors argue that this could be a result of differences in the behaviour of employers toward women which result in a strong bias towards men in male-dominated professional and management roles.