Women in their 40s ‘most affected’ by gender pay gap

Analysis from the Office of National Statistics shows women in their 40s are paid 20% less than men. Plus other news

Women in their 40s suffer most from the gender pay gap, earning 20% less than men, according to research from the Office of National Statistics.
The pay gap rises from 1% for women in their 20s to 20.3% for women in their 40s who are working full time. Women in their 30s are paid 7.3% less than men and those in their 50s are paid 18.3% less.
An analysis of the figures shows that it is the impact of motherhood and caring for elderly relatives which is a key issue for women in their 40s. The widest gap was reported in skilled trade sectors like decorating, but management jobs were close behind. The gap also widened in relation to how many children women had.
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Return to work ‘getting easier’ 
Returning to work is getting easier in the US, with a whole range of support being offered to women who have taken time out, says the Wall Street Journal.
It cites the growth in websites offering advice to working mothers, recruitment agencies, university courses run to encourage women back into the workforce and innovative schemes run by companies.
Research by the Center for Work-Life Policy has found that 93% of professional women who have been out of the workforce for more than two years are trying to get back in. Some 74% succeed, but only 40% describe themselves as working in mainstream full-time jobs.
The WSJ says things may be changing. It points to courses like Harvard’s program for businesswomen wanting to re-enter the workforce and company schemes like PriceWaterhouseCoopers Full Circle program which allows talented women employees to leave the company for up to five years with the option of returning.
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Flexible working ‘not working’
Many companies are refusing requests for flexible working and giving unacceptable reasons for doing so, according to an analysis of 5,000 calls to the Working Families helpline.
The organisation cites the following reasons as being given for not granting flexible working: “the job can’t be done part-time so you’ll have to resign”, “it would set a precedent” and “it will have a detrimental effect on quality”.
However, employers have defended their track record on implementing flexible working and said there could be good grounds for saying a job could not be done part-time.
The Confederation of British Industry says its research shows 95% of employers offer at least one form of flexible working and 90% have accepted requests for flexible working from staff. Working Families wants to see flexible working legislation extended to all workers.
The government-backed review of whether the legislation should be extended is expected to report shortly. Read more 

Equal pay danger for private firms 
Private firms have been warned that the equal pay cases lodged in the public sector could have consequences for them too.
Stephen Moir, president of the Public Sector People Managers’ Association, describes the issue as “a sleeping giant” for the private sector. Equal pay claims are likely to increase after a raft of cases linked to inequality. Several reports in recent months show a big pay differential between women and men doing similar jobs, particularly after women become mothers.
Nevertheless, few private firms have done equality audits and there are concerns they may not be prepared for any legal cases that might be taken against them.
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More women needed in City to counter testosterone overdose 
Men with high levels of testosterone are more likely to be successful in the City, but too much testosterone can result in dangerous decisions, according to research.
The research, by Cambridge University, found that men who did well on the trading floor had higher levels of testosterone than their counterparts. However, one of the lessons the researchers drew was that there needed to be a greater number of women in the City to temper the risks of too much testosterone.
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