1 in 10 employers admits gender pay gap

Thursday 27 July 2017

One in ten employers admits to paying women less than men for jobs at the same level, according to a YouGov survey for the charity Young Women’s Trust. Nearly half say publishing gender pay gaps will not make a difference to pay and a fifth think equal pay will never be achieved.

The survey of 800 HR decision-makers shows that it’s not just the BBC that has a problem with under-paying women. 10 per cent of those asked in the private sector and 13 per cent in the public sector said they were aware of women being paid less in their workplace.

In the UK, the full-time gender pay gap is 14 per cent. At the slow rate it is narrowing, it will take another 50 years to close the gap. By then, today’s young women will have retired. Many employers think the gap will never be closed.

Young Women’s Trust research shows that the pay gap for young women apprentices is even bigger than the average. They earn 21 per cent less than their male counterparts, leaving them £2,000 a year worse off. Often this is because the sectors women tend to work in, like care, administration and retail, are more likely to be poorly paid.

The government is now making organisations publish their gender pay gaps by April 2018 but employers doubt the effectiveness of this. 44 per cent of those making hiring decisions say the measure introduced last April will not lead to any change in pay levels. Women employers are even more pessimistic than men, with more than half saying it will not work.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“We need urgent action to close the gap. Gender pay gap reporting is a great step forward but does not go far enough to close the gap. The new legislation will only be effective if the government puts in place and enforces penalties for firms that fail to report their pay gaps accurately. Where pay gaps do exist, like at the BBC, Young Women’s Trust would like to see that companies are obliged to put in place plans to reduce them.

“Pay transparency alone will not change the gender stereotypes that often determine the types of roles men and women take and the industries they work in. We need action to support young women into male-dominated areas if we are to achieve equal pay. Providing more part-time and flexible working opportunities, for example, including for apprenticeships, would help many women balance work and family life.

“Without action, today’s young women face a lifetime of unequal pay.”

Young Women’s Trust is working to help young women into the better-paid male-dominated apprenticeships to help close the gender pay gap.

Notes to editor:

 Young Women’s Trust is a charity that supports and represents women in England and Wales aged 16-30 trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.

  1. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey of 800 HR decision-makers between 5 April and 3 May 2017. The survey showed that:


    • 10 per cent, or one in ten, said they were aware of women being paid less than men for jobs at the same level in their workplace in the past year. In large organisations, this number increased to 13 per cent, or one in eight;
    • 44 per cent (51 per cent of women and 40 per cent of men) agreed that new gender pay gap reporting requirements will not lead to organisations taking action to close the gender pay gap. 23 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed and 11 per cent did not know;
    • 18 per cent, or one in five, said women’s average earnings will never be as high as men’s. A further ten per cent said it would take longer than 25 years to achieve pay equality.

  2. The current overall gender pay gap for full time workers is 13.9 per cent. This is calculated by comparing the hourly mean earnings for men and women, as outlined in the Office for National Statistics’ annual survey of hours and earnings.
  3. The Office for National Statistics’ annual survey of hours and earnings shows the pay gap is falling by just 0.2 percentage points a year. If this continues, it will take 47 years to achieve pay parity between men and women.
  4. Young Women’s Trust research has found that the gap for apprentices is bigger. There is an hourly gender pay gap among apprentices of £1.03, which represents a 17.6 per cent gap. A young woman apprentice working a 35 hour week would, on average, earn £8,772.40 a year. A young man working the same hours would earn £10,674 a year. This is an annual difference of £1,874.60. Apprentice hourly pay rates are based on a Young Women’s Trust poll of 1,269 young people conducted by ComRes in 2015 and published in the ‘Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women’ report in 2016.
  5. For more information or to speak to a young woman apprentice, please contact Bex Bailey at bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or on 07963018281.