Earnings survey shows gender gap widening

Figures from the 2008 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that women have slipped further behind men in the pay stakes.

Gerwyn Davies, Public Policy Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said this presents a challenge to employers and policy makers, but advised against attributing the gap to poor employer practice. 

Commenting on the figures, Davies said that they figures showed that the pay gap between full-time male and female employees had widened in the year leading to April 2008. “It is most disappointing and a blow to progress towards equality. The poor year for women in the workforce is further exacerbated by relatively small increases in the pay of part-time workers and public sector workers, categories of work where women are in the majority.”

Davies went on to say that the figures demonstrate that even greater effort will need to be made by employers and government to narrow the gap. But, he warned, “it is simplistic to conclude that the gender pay gap is the result of pay discrimination by employers. The gap mainly reflects variations in the type of jobs done by men and women, different working patterns and, in particular, the impact of childcare on women’s career choices and hours of work.”

He said that all these factors need to be taken into account when devising changes to policy and practice designed to close the gap.

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