Equal Pay Day: From today women effectively work for free for the rest of the year

Today (14/11/19) is Equal Pay Day as it marks the day women stop getting paid during the year compared to men due to the gender pay gap, which comes ten days after Disability Pay Gap Day which marks the same except for disabled employees compared to non-disabled workers.

As Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, a UK merchant bank said “progress is being made” as the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that the average mean gender pay gap in the UK has decreased to 13.1 per cent. However, a gender pay gap still remains as the Fawcett Group, a UK charity that campaigns for women’s rights and gender equality has said at this speed it will take 60 years to put a stop to the gender pay gap.

Close Brothers has released its employee-based ‘Financial Wellbeing Index’, which found that women are twice as likely to worry about meeting their day-to-day living costs compared to their male counterparts.

It also showed women perform worse than men across all areas of financial wellbeing.

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, wellbeing expert at ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester said:

It is quite right that the campaign for pay equality continues its march onward, but similar priority should be given to the financial wellbeing imbalance. Female employees must be given access to the necessary tools and guidance to bring their financial wellbeing levels up.

Despite men and women having access to similar financial education, we are seeing it having very different outcomes. This really underlines the importance of understanding the specific needs of employees rather than delivering a one-size-fits-all strategy and hoping that it works.

Gumtree jobs have released a report in preparation for the day which focuses on ‘Hidden Heroes’. This is a new term that focuses on the workforce which has a large gender pay gap which showed that hospitality and catering came in top with a gender pay gap of 25 per cent followed by retail and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) with a 24 per cent gender pay gap.

Computing and IT has the smallest gender pay gap at 6 per cent.

A spokesperson for Gumtree said:

The Equal Pay Day report has revealed concerning figures about the gender pay gap, and worryingly, our research suggests that there is an even higher gender pay gap amongst the UK’s Hidden Heroes. Female workers in the low-income jobs are earning less than males in every industry in the report – even in sectors which are female dominated. These women are earning on average 16 per cent less than their male counterparts; a lot of work needs to be done to close this gap and employers must look at their entire workforce, whether that’s low, mid or high-income earners.