Tuesday 29 October 2019 2:39 pm

Gender pay gap: UK women earn £263,000 less than men over working life

British women will earn £263,000 less than their male counterparts over their life, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS study shows that the average working woman can expect to take home 59 per cent of what the average man takes home.

Read more: UK inflation stays at Bank of England’s two per cent target

Men can expect to earn £643,000 throughout their working life, whereas the average for women is £380,000.

The figures show that the gender pay gap has narrowed in the recent years, but only marginally. Women’s earnings are only three per cent higher as a proportion of men’s in 2018 than in 2004.

A separate ONS report on the gender pay gap found that it currently stands at 8.9 per cent among full-time employees, little changed from 2018, and a decline of only 0.6 percentage points since 2012.

Among all employees the gender pay gap fell from 17.8 per cent in 2018 to 17.3 per cent in 2019, and continues to decline.

Despite high levels of employment and a spate of recent pay increases, average lifetime earnings grew at the second-slowest rate since 2004.

The data also suggests that those workers who have Masters degrees or PhDs also benefit, with earnings roughly £65,000 – 10 per cent – higher than those with undergraduate qualifications.

However, women with advanced qualifications still had lifetime earnings roughly a third lower than men with the same degrees.

The disparity is particularly stark for women with Master’s degrees and PhDs aged 26 to 35, who earn considerably less than men of the same age who only have undergraduate qualifications.

Women in this age bracket have average lifetime earnings of £803,000, whilst the average for men totals around £1.2m.

“Across every age group, the average future lifetime earnings of women with master’s or PhD degrees is substantially lower than that for men with undergraduate degrees,” the ONS noted.

The number of male and female UK workers and jobseekers with master’s degrees or PhDs is now higher than those without qualifications.

There are 4.5m of the former and 3.4m of the latter in the UK.

Read more: Female bosses launch campaign to close the gender pay gap

The ONS’ report on human capital is an attempt to put an economic value on the skills, knowledge and experience of the UK workforce.

The total value of the UK’s human capital is estimated at £21.4trn, about ten times that of its GDP.

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