Men working full-time are twice as likely to earn more than £50,000 a year than full-time female employees, according to research by the Trades U nion Congress (TUC).
Its analysis of official figures published to mark Equal Pay Day today (4 November) found that one in 15 women working full-time earns more than £50,000 a year, compared to one in seven men.
Equal Pay Day marks the point at which women working full-time effectively stop earning for the year because they are paid £5,200 (15.7%) less per year, on average, than men working full-time. But in certain professions the gender pay gap is much wider.
The research also found how full-time women are more likely to earn below the UK average salary of £32,300. Seven in 10 women earn below this amount, compared to six in 10 men.
In addition, women are more likely to be employed on poverty pay. One in four women working full-time earns less than the living wage, compared to one in six men.
Research published last week by the World Economic Forum, revealed that the UK has fallen out of the top 20 most gender-equal countries in the world for the first time after women’s incomes fell by £2,700 over the past year.
The UK’s gender pay gap is even bigger for women working part-time, who earn 34% less per hour, on average, than men working full-time. Equal Pay Day for women working part-time was on 28 August.
Ingrid Waterfield, a director in KPMG’s People Powered Performance practice, said: “Equal pay audits are another step on the path to transparency in business but the threat of forced publication of pay structures will not solve the problems overnight.”
Frances O’Grady, general secretary at the TUC, said: “It is small wonder that Britain is plummeting down the international league tables when it comes to gender equality.
“It feels like the glass ceiling is getting stronger not weaker and we need a much tougher approach to stop future generations of women from suffering this pay penalty. [Employers] must be held more accountable for how they pay their staff and made to publish information.”
Iain McMath, chief executive officer at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, added: “It is alarming to see that the difference in take-home pay for men and women is actually increasing, despite it being over 40 years since the arrival of the Equal Pay Act.
”With figures now showing that women earn 15.7% less than their male colleagues, this inequality shows no signs of abating.
Employers need to be aware of the financial stress that many of their employees are facing, and must take steps to ensure they are helping staff to manage their money and reach their financial goals.”
Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “A sizeable part of the pay gap is often the result of not having enough women in senior positions, so businesses should also be tackling this cause.
”Organisations need to work hard to address any barriers to women progressing in the workplace. This will go a long way to rebalancing pay for men and women.”