Nearly two-thirds of the 900,000 employees in the UK’s best-paid occupations are male, according to research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Its analysis of the 10 best and 10 worst-paid occupations in the UK showed that legal professionals, head teachers and college principals are the only top-paying occupations that employ more women than men.
The analysis also found that the best-paid occupations in the UK, such as financial managers and medical practitioners, are ‘no-go’ areas for part-time workers.
Employees are half as likely (14%) to work part-time in top-paying professions as they are in the rest of the labour market (28%).
Among chief executives and senior officials – the best paying occupation in the UK with an average hourly wage of £43.17 – just 6.6% of employees work part-time and just one in four are female.
The analysis also found:
- The lowest-paid occupations, such as retail assistants and cleaners, are dominated by women and part-time workers.
- Of the 2.6 million employees in the 10 lowest-paying occupations, where average hourly wages range from £6.20 to £6.82, 1.7 million employees are female and 1.8 million work part-time.
- Around three-quarters of waiters, waitresses and bar staff, the joint-lowest paid occupations with an average hourly wage of just £6.20 and where two-thirds of the workforce is female, work part-time.
- Vehicle valeting and cleaning is the only low-paid job that employs more men than women, and has a disproportionately high number of full-time workers.
Frances O’Grady (pictured), general secretary of the TUC, said: “Young women are more than able to match their male colleagues as they start out in their careers. But too much of their talent and experience goes to waste as soon as they have children and seek greater flexibility in their working hours.
“Employers’ blinkered refusal to allow senior staff to work part-time and flexibly means that many top-paying occupations are complete ‘no-go’ areas for staff wanting to work shorter hours. Instead, millions of women are forced into low-paying sectors.
“This ensuring descent into working poverty is all too familiar for millions of women working part-time, two in five of whom currently earn less than the living wage.
“So far, the government’s efforts appear to be focused on getting more women into the boardroom. But while it’s important to have more women in these top positions, the other 99% of the female workforce cannot be ignored.
“We need more senior positions opened up to part-time and flexible work, so that a reduction in hours doesn’t result in poverty rates of pay.”