Gender pay gap turned upside-down in North Herts

PUBLISHED: 10:26 01 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 01 November 2019

The gender pay gap for North Herts workers no longer reflects this traditional image.

The gender pay gap for North Herts workers no longer reflects this traditional image.

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The gender pay gap for full-time workers in North Hertfordshire has turned upside-down over the last year, official figures reveal.

Women in full-time work now earn 0.7 per cent more hourly than their male counterparts, having earned 17 per cent less in 2018, Office for National Statistics data shows.

But women still take home an average annual salary of £34,670 - £4,438 less than the average man's salary of £39,108.

The average pay figures, for workers who live in North Herts, are calculated using a median, rather than mean, average, to stop them being skewed by particularly small or large pay packets.

Across the UK, male workers in full-time jobs now earn 8.9 per cent more than their female counterparts.

This represents a slight rise from 8.6 per cent last year, the first increase in six years.

But ONS statistician Roger Smith said the national increase was not "statistically significant", adding it is too early to say if it marks a change in trend.

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"We also saw an increase in 2013 followed by a return to downward trend in subsequent years," he added.

"However, the downward trend is a slow one regardless."

For people aged under 40, the wage gap for full-time employees is now "close to zero", the ONS said.

Yet it widens among 40 to 49 year olds to 11.4 per cent, stretching to more than 15 per cent among 50 to 59 year olds and those over 60 - a difference that is "not declining strongly over time".

The ONS attributes this to older women being "more likely" to work in lower-paid jobs than younger ones, and less likely to fill managerial roles.

In North Herts, the difference in pay between male and female workers, including those in part-time jobs, decreased from 25.6 per cent in 2018 to 19.5 per cent this year.

This divide can partly be explained by the number of women working part-time. An estimated 12,000 women in North Herts were in part-time work last year, around 46 per cent of the female workforce, but of the 26,000 working men, too few were in part-time work for the ONS to provide an estimate.

Nationally, the average gender pay gap is 17.3 per cent across all work patterns.

Gender equality charity the Fawcett Society called progress on closing the gender pay gap "dismally slow", adding that it would take 60 years to accomplish at the current rate.

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