Research finds women paid less than men in 90 percent of sectors

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Women working full time are paid less than men in 90 percent of sectors, with those working in financial and insurance among the worst affected, government research has found.

The report, Opportunities and outcomes in education and work: Gender effects, released today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), examines the impact of gender on a range of education and employment outcomes.

The research finds that male workers are paid on average 19 percent more than female counterparts in almost all areas of the workforce.

The figures also show that women working in financial and insurance sectors, as well as other professional roles, are worst affected by the gap in pay – with some earning almost 40 percent less than men.

Similarly, large pay gaps also exist within the energy sectors and scientific and technical occupations – roles where women are already chronically under-represented.

The stark findings on pay are further compounded by the fact that female students outperform males at all levels of education, from GCSEs and A-Levels, through to University and post-graduate studies – making them more likely to be highly skilled and qualified.

“This research brings home the bleak reality of gender inequality at work in the UK. In spite of women’s real achievements in education, the gender pay gap stubbornly remains, commented  Dr Vicki Belt, assistant director of UKCES. 

Our research shows that occupational segregation is a key factor at play here. Women are under-represented in a range of sectors and occupations that offer higher paying roles – for example fewer than 10% of British engineers are female.

As almost a quarter of women work part-time, they are also disproportionately affected by the low quality, and poor progression opportunities offered by much part-time work,” Belt continued.

The findings come just a week after Equal Pay Day on 9th November, representing the point in the year at which women are effectively working for free as a consequence of the gender pay gap.

The report found that nearly a third more women than men go on to study at degree level in the UK, with almost 300,000 women becoming graduates in 2014 compared to 205,000 men. In some sectors the ratio of male to female workers has increased dramatically over the past decade. In computer science, for example, men now outnumber women almost 5 to 1 – a 40% increase from 2005/6.

“There is clearly more that could be done by employers, education providers and careers advisers to create more and better opportunities for women and tackle patterns of occupational segregation,” Belt concluded.

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