In an industry typically dominated by males, inclusion and equality have become top priorities for organisations to create a more diverse workspace. The gender pay gap statistics for the UK indicate some progress towards equality, however, that progress might just be too slow.
Even though the Equality Act in the UK only came into force in April 2017, historical data provides insight into the pay difference for as long as 20 years. Relevant findings suggest that the gender pay gap between male and female workers was considerably higher in 1997, with a 27.5 per cent wage difference between the two genders.
Top 10 gender pay gap statistics for the UK
- The wage gap between all male and female employees in the UK was 15.4 per cent at the end of 2021.
- 78 per cent of employers in the UK report that they pay their male workers a higher median hourly wage than their female ones.
- 35 per cent of British female workers were employed part-time as of April 2021.
- The gender pay gap for part-time employees in the public sector in the UK is 20 per cent.
- The gender pay gap for administrative and secretarial occupations is 21.9 per cent.
- British men in the finance and insurance sector earn 32.2 per cent more than British women.
- The accommodation and food services industry has the narrowest gender pay gap of 0.7 per cent in the UK.
- Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK where women earn more than men, with a 4.1 per cent gender pay gap in their favour.
- The difference in pay between male and female workers from the 90th percentile is 16.1 per cent.
- 28 per cent of all female employees work in occupations where the median hourly pay is less than the 25th percentile of the overall distribution.
Data on the gender pay gap by industry
The gender pay gap for administrative and secretarial occupations is 21.9 per cent
The above category of occupations had the highest pay difference between male and female workers in the UK, followed by caring, leisure, and other service occupations, where the gender pay gap was 16.1 per cent.
Furthermore, men in elementary occupations earned 11 per cent more than women, while the gender pay gap for associate professional and technical occupations was 10.9 per cent. The pay gap for managers, directors and senior officials was 10.2 per cent. For professional occupations, it was 9.2 per cent, and for process plant and machine operatives, it was 6.7 per cent.
Finally, occupations with the smallest gender wage gap in the UK were those in the skilled trades and sales and customer service categories, with a gender pay gap of 5.8 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively.
British men in the finance and insurance sector earn 32.2 per cent more than British women
While the gender pay difference can be found in every single industry in the UK,
The difference in pay was significantly higher in certain industries.
Besides finance and insurance, there was also a considerable difference in pay favouring men in the education (25.4 per cent), electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (24 per cent), information and communication (21.9 per cent), and professional, scientific, and technical (19.9 per cent) sectors.
In addition, pay gap statistics showed that the difference in human health and social work (18.3 per cent) and construction industries (16.6 per cent) was also higher than the average.
The accommodation and food services industry has the narrowest gender pay gap of 0.7 per cent in the UK
Additionally, the transport and storage and admin and support services sectors also had relatively small wage gaps of 4.6 per cent and 7.3 per cent, according to the latest data.
The pay difference in all other industries was higher than 10 per cent. In water supply, sewage, and waste management, it stood at 10.4 per cent, and in the public admin and defence sector, it was 11.5 per cent.
Gender pay gap facts further revealed that women in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry earned 11.7 per cent less than me. Meanwhile, women in agriculture, forestry, and fishing had 12.3 per cent smaller earnings.
Finally, the wage gap in real estate is 12.9 per cent, 14 per cent in the motor vehicle industry, and 15 per cent in manufacturing.
General UK gender pay gap statistics
The wage gap between all male and female employees in the UK was 15.4 per cent at the end of 2021
The wage gap has widened by 0.5 percentage points from 14.9 per cent in 2020, which was an all-time low. Furthermore, the pay gap for full-time employees was currently at 7.9 per cent, which was up by 0.9 percentage points since 2020, when it was seven per cent.
At the same time, the gender wage gap for part-time employees, which traditionally favours women, had decreased by 0.8 percentage points, from -3.5 per cent in 2022 to -2.7 per cent in 2021.
The gender pay gap for part-time employees in the public sector in the UK is 20 per cent
Female workers account for 86 per cent of the part-time public workforce in the country, and yet they earned 20 per cent less than men. Women were also the majority of part-time workers in the private sector, with a 68 per cent share, where the pay gap was negligible at 0.1 per cent.
UK government gender pay gap statistics also showed that women comprise 57 per cent of full-time public workers and earned 12 per cent less than male full-time public employees. In the private sector, on the other hand, female workers account for only a third, or 33 per cent, of the entire full-time employees and earn 13 per cent lower wages than male full-time workers.
78 per cent of employers in the UK report that they pay their male workers a higher median hourly wage than their female ones
One of the most concerning gender pay gap UK facts was that only eight per cent of the employers in the country reported paying an equal median hourly wage to their male and female employees. Moreover, the remaining 14 per cent reported paying a higher median hourly wage to their female workers.
The pay difference in median bonus pay was also skewed in favour of the male workers, as 68 per cent of employees reported paying bigger bonuses to them. Similar to the median hourly wage, the smallest percentage, or 15 per cent, report paying equal median bonus pay to male and female employees, and 18 per cent report paying higher bonuses to women.
35 per cent of British female workers were employed part-time as of April 2021
One of the main reasons for the gender pay gap’s presence in the UK was the fact that more than a third of all female employees in the country worked part-time, and part-time jobs offer lower hourly wages.
Nine million British women worked full-time, while 4.9 million were hired as part-time employees. In comparison, only 11 per cent, or 1.5 million male British workers worked part-time. Meanwhile, the vast majority of them (12.5 million) were employed full-time.
Gender pay gap demographics
Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK where women earn more than men, with a 4.1 per cent gender pay gap in their favour
According to the latest statistics on the gender pay gap in the United Kingdom, Scotland had the lowest difference between male and female workers’ earnings at 3.6 per cent. Furthermore, the gender pay gap in Wales was five per cent, followed by the North West and North East regions, where the pay gap was 6.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively.
Women earn 9.2 per cent less in the South West, while the gender pay gap was in men’s favour by 9.7 per cent in the East region of the UK. In the West Midlands, the wage gap was 10 per cent, and in Yorkshire and the Humber region, it is slightly higher at 10.1 per cent.
The wage gap statistics further revealed that men in the East Midlands region earn 11.1 per cent more than women. Finally, the South East and the London regions showed the highest gender difference. There, the gender pay gap was 12.4 per cent in favour of male workers.
British women between 40 and 59 earn 12.3 per cent lower wages than their male counterparts
The statistics showed that the gender pay gap is present across all age brackets, however, it is significantly wider for older employees. Namely, female workers aged between 18 and 21 earn one per cent less than males, while the pay gap for employees between 22 and 29 was at its lowest at 0.9 per cent.
Furthermore, the UK gender pay gap rose to three per cent when it came to workers between 30 and 39 and reached 12.3 per cent once it made the 40-year mark. The pay gap remained at 12.3 per cent for the next two age groups, between 40 and 49 and between 50 and 59, and slightly decreased to 11.9 per cent for employees older than 60.
The difference in pay between male and female workers from the 90th percentile is 16.1 per cent
The data revealed that the gender pay gap is the widest for the workers with the highest earnings in the UK. However, the current gender pay gap UK statistics also showed that the gap for these employees has been steadily decreasing since 2018, when it was 18.4 per cent.
Additionally, the pay difference for workers with the lowest earnings, from the 10th percentile, was much lower at 3.1 per cent but still higher than the 1.7 per cent wage gap from 2020.
Lastly, the gender pay gap for workers with median earnings was 7.9 per cent, 0.9 percentage points higher than the seven per cent in 2020.
28 per cent of all female employees work in occupations where the median hourly pay is less than the 25th percentile of the overall distribution
The gender pay gap in the UK can also be attributed to occupation segregation. In comparison, only 15 per cent of the men worked jobs that paid less than the 25th percentile. Additionally, 58 per cent of British women worked in occupations where the median hourly pay was lower than the median, while only 45 per cent of the male workers worked in such occupations.
In contrast, 54 per cent of the men worked in occupations that paid more than the median hourly pay, while the share of women working these jobs was significantly lower, at only 43 per cent.