Women still paid less – and we don’t even realise

men and women at work

The gender pay gap is still alive and well, it seems, as eight out of ten of the UK’s most popular job roles, employing 100,000 people or more, favour men in terms of salary.

Data from the Office for National Statistics was analysed by software experts to compare men’s and women’s median hourly rates to find out which occupations, industries, and geographical locations have the widest and smallest pay gaps.

The study revealed that 65 of the top 78 jobs with the largest number of workers, pay men more on average. Over 17.6 million people are employed in these occupations (9.4 million women and 8.2 million men), with the average gender pay gap – as of April – ranging from -13.8% for EAs and personal assistants to 30.8% for financial managers and directors.

While most of these jobs do have a lower gender pay gap than the UK average, which was recently announced as 15.4%, up from 14.9% in 2020 (based on median gross hourly earnings for all workers), the women in these roles are still paid less overall, according to HR software provider CIPHR.

Interestingly, other findings from CIPHR revealed that most staff underestimate their employer’s gender pay gap, with over half believing no wage gap exists where they work.

The three most popular jobs, employing over 2.2 million people, are sales and retail assistants, care workers and home carers, and administrative or clerical assistants. The average gender pay gaps for these three roles are 5 per cent, 1.7 per cent, and 10.5 per cent respectively, despite women comprising most of the workers in them (women make up 64, 83, and 76 per cent of the workforce).

While nearly all British workers agree that that the country has a gender pay gap – over half don’t believe one exists where they work

Nursing is the fourth largest occupation in the country, with over half a million – 86 per cent of which are women. It also has a 4% gender pay gap in favour of men.

Fifth on the list is sales accounts and business development managers, with 461,600 workers (60 per cent are men and 40 per cent are women) and a 12.5 per cent gender pay gap in favour of men. So, women doing this job typically only earn an average of 87p for every pound earned by a man.

In the UK, women make up the majority of the workforce in seven of the top ten jobs with the most employees. All but one have gender pay gaps in favour of men.

England leads the four nations when it comes to the widest gender pay gaps, with Derby, St Albans, and the City of London, topping the list of cities with the widest margins.

Organisations based in these three cities have gender pay gaps of over 26 per cent (31.3%, 27.4%, and 26.3% respectively).

In comparison, Scottish and Welsh cities tend to be lower. Swansea, Glasgow, Stirling, and Newport, for example, have gender pay gaps of around 9 per cent. Lowest overall were Preston (2.1%), Worcester (3.3%) and Leicester (5.2%).

David Richter, director of marketing at CIPHR, said: “While nearly all British workers agree that that the country has a gender pay gap – over half don’t believe one exists where they work. So, we decided to investigate how likely this really is?

“Using the latest official data from the ONS, we aimed to discover just how many of the UK’s most popular jobs – that’s occupational roles held by at least 100,000 people or more, are affected by a gender pay gap. Disappointingly, most of the job roles highlighted in CIPHR’s study still have a pay gap that favours men. Even after years of reforms and inclusive policies and initiatives, there’s still a long way to go to close the gap.”

The report in full here