The UK's gender pay gap is at its smallest since records began

Emma Haslett
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The gender pay gap is at its narrowest in years (Source: Getty)

The UK's gender pay gap fell to the lowest since records began in April - although it still stood at 9.1 per cent, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) annual survey of hours and earnings showed full-time employees in the UK earned £550 a week in April, up 2.2 per cent on last year. That rise was the joint-highest since the economic downturn in 2008.

However, adjusted for inflation, workers' earnings decreased 0.4 per cent compared with the same time last year, the first time since 2014 the figure has fallen.

Meanwhile, the gender pay gap for part-time workers increased from -6.1 per cent in April last year to -5.1 per cent in April this year, with earnings for part-time men increased more than for women.

The gender pay gap was widest for those aged between 30 and 35, where it stood at 22 per cent. However, just 10 years earlier, women were earning 10.6 per cent more than men.

"There is much more to do in order to deliver genuine pay equality," said Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst at the Chartered Institute of Personel and Development (CIPD).

"This is particularly true when we consider that relatively few women work full time and that women as a whole still tend to be concentrated in low-paid sectors of the economy; especially among the over 30s.

“It is clear that the gender pay reporting requirements need to be accompanied by a more analytical review of why the equal pay gap exists in organisations and what practical steps can be taken to tackle it. In many cases, a greater drive to increase uptake of flexible working opportunities from government and employers will be required if we are to make further inroads into the equal pay gap.

"As the ONS points out, the gap is relatively small up to the age of 40, which is likely to be connected with patterns of return to work after having children."

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