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Gender Pay Gap - Men earn more than women in most jobs

Graham Watson

6th April 2023

The median pay gap in most UK firms has stayed stubbornly consistent at around 9%, and hasn't fallen since 2017/18 when the data was first published, suggesting that the gender pay gap has scarcely fallen in that time.

More here from BBC news.

The main cause of this isn't gender-based pay discrimination - i.e. paying men and women different amounts for doing the same job but different rates of promotion to senior positions.


The gender pay gap is the difference in average earnings between men and women. It is calculated by comparing the median hourly earnings of men and women across all occupations. In the UK, the gender pay gap for full-time employees was 8.3% in April 2022. This means that women working full-time in the UK earn, on average, 8.3% less per hour than men working full-time.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender pay gap in the UK. These include:

  • Occupational segregation: Women are more likely to work in lower-paid occupations than men. For example, women make up the majority of workers in the care sector, which is one of the lowest-paid sectors in the UK.
  • Unconscious bias: Employers may unconsciously favor men over women when making hiring and promotion decisions. This can lead to women being paid less than men for doing the same work.
  • The motherhood penalty: Women who take time out of work to have children often face a pay penalty when they return to work. This is because they may have lost out on promotions and experience, and they may also have to take on lower-paid jobs that are more compatible with childcare.

The gender pay gap is a significant problem in the UK. It means that women are earning less than men for doing the same work, and it contributes to the wider gender inequality that exists in society. There are a number of things that can be done to close the gender pay gap, including:

  • Encouraging women to enter higher-paid occupations: This can be done by promoting these occupations to women and providing them with the skills and training they need to succeed.
  • Addressing unconscious bias: Employers can do this by training their staff on unconscious bias and by making sure that their recruitment and promotion processes are fair and transparent.
  • Supporting working parents: This can be done by providing affordable childcare and flexible working arrangements.

Closing the gender pay gap is a complex issue, but it is one that is worth addressing. By taking action to address the factors that contribute to the gap, we can create a more equal society for everyone.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to tutor2u, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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