Million young women illegally paid less for same jobs

Friday 9 November 2018

Million young women illegally paid less for same jobs – and employers are aware! 

YWT logoOne in five UK young women – more than a million – say they have been paid less than male colleagues for the same or similar work. Not only is this illegal, but Young Women’s Trust, a charity that helps young women on low or no pay, has revealed that many employers are doing it knowingly. One in 10 HR decision-makers in organisations with more than 250 staff is aware of women in their organisation being paid less than men for jobs at the same level.  

This comes as charities highlight the day that women effectively start working for free in comparison to men, due to lower pay. This year, ‘Equal Pay Day’ falls on Saturday 10 November to mark the fact that women are on average paid 13.7 per cent less than men. This gap has not changed much in recent years – and, in fact, has widened for young women.  

Gender pay gap measurements reflect the fact that women are more likely to work in low-paid sectors such as care and cleaning and that they often hold more junior positions in the workplace – all of which is legal, albeit often based on discrimination and gender stereotypes.  

Unequal pay, however, in which women are paid less than men for roles at the same level, is illegal. Despite Government reporting rules introduced this year, which exposed the gender pay gap in organisations across the country, many HR decision-makers admit they are aware that women in their workplace are paid less than men for roles at the same level.  

More than half of young women surveyed by Young Women’s Trust said that they did not feel confident challenging their employer about the gender pay gap, while one in seven said they were disappointed by their employer’s efforts to close the gap.  

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

“Women face a gender pay gap from the moment they start work, and it is not budging.   

“Young Women’s Trust research shows that young women apprentices earn eight per cent less than their male counterparts, leaving them more than £1,000 a year worse off. Often this is because the sectors women tend to work in – such as administration, health and social care and retail – are not valued and paid as much as they should be.   

“Not only is there a huge job to do to close this legal gender pay gap, but still in 2018 we are fighting unequal pay, which has been illegal for nearly 50 years.  

“If 2018 is to be a turning point for women’s equality, and not just a footnote in history, then we need deeds, not words. This means valuing women’s work, supporting young women into male-dominated sectors and mandating employers to put in place plans to close pay gaps and pay women fairly for their work.  

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


Notes to editor:  

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women 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. 
  2. The Fawcett Society calculates ‘Equal Pay Day’ based on the percentage difference in the hourly average wages of men and women. The current overall gender pay gap for full time workers is 13.7 per cent, which means this year’s ‘Equal Pay Day’ will be on Saturday 10 November – 86 per cent of the way through the year. The full-time gap has not changed much in recent years. 
  3. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Populus Data Solutions to carry out a survey of young people. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30 year olds and 1,115 54-72 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey found that: 
    1. one in five young women (19 per cent, or more than a million) say they are illegally paid less than their male colleagues for the same or similar work, rising to one in four (25 per cent) for those aged 25-30; 
    2. 15 per cent of young women are disappointed by their employer’s efforts to tackle the gender pay gap; and 
      1. more than half of young women (53 per cent) say they don’t have the confidence to challenge their boss on the issue. 
      2. Young Women’s Trust commissioned YouGov to carry out a poll of those making employment decisions in 2018. The total sample size was 816 senior HR professionals / people managers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th April - 7th May 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the UK business population by size, sector and region. The survey shows that: 
        1. eight per cent of employers are aware of women being paid less than men for jobs at the same level (12 per cent of women employers, six per cent of men, and 11 per cent of employers in organisations of 250 employees or more). 
  4. Young Women’s Trust commissioned ComRes to interview 500 current or recent apprentices in Great Britain online between 26th July and 11th August 2017. Data were weighted by age and gender. The survey found that: 
    1. the average hourly pay for men is £7.25, compared to £6.67 for women – an eight per cent gender pay gap; 
    2. the mean number of hours contracted to work per week is 36 hours; and 
    3. a woman apprentice working 36 hours a week on average pay would therefore earn £1,085.76 less over the course of a year than a man working the same hours on the male average pay. 
  5. For more information, please contact Bex Bailey at or on 07963018281.