Today the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with the Internal Labour Organisation, has released new research that shows women working in healthcare earn on average 24% less than their male peers, and face a larger gender pay gap than in other economic sectors.
The report found that much of the pay gap can’t be explained by factors like education and working time, and so must be down to discrimination. This echoes the findings of Young Women’s Trust’s survey, in which 42% of young women said they’d been discriminated against at work or when looking for work, and almost a third of HR decision makers were aware of discrimination happening in their organisations, rising to almost half in public sector organisations. More than 1 in 10 HR decision makers also told us that they were aware of women being paid less than men for jobs at the same level in their organisation.
The research also identified big variations in gender pay gaps between different countries across the globe suggesting that these gaps are not inevitable and that more can be done to close them.
In our recent annual report Just getting by, we propose a number of recommendations that would help tip the scales on pay inequality, including:
- Employers should have plans to support young women’s progression within work, as young women are finding it harder than young men to progress.
- Employers should advertise jobs with salary details so that candidates aren’t expected to declare their previous salary history, which can lead to women being trapped in lower paid roles.
- There should be better reporting of gender pay gaps and targeted action plans to improve pay equality.
- Flexible working should be a legal right, from day one, and employers in sectors like health where large proportions of the workforce are female, should be innovative in making flexible working possible.
Claire Reindorp, Chief Executive Officer at Young Women’s Trust, said:
“This report from the World Health Organisation echoes what young women are telling us – levels of sexism you’d have expected in the 1950s are still alive and well in the workplace today. It shows that the UK is lagging behind other European countries when it comes to the pay gap for young women working in the health and social care sector – a sector that we know employs a high number of young women. Young women should not be penalised in any sector because of their gender and especially not in roles that are vital for our society. We urge government and employers to take stock of the recommendations to ensure equal pay for all.”