Four-fifths of highest earners are men



Glass ceiling is becoming “more apparent” say LSE researchers, while Deloitte warns the gender pay gap won’t close until 2069

Fewer than one in five of those earning the top 1 per cent of wages in the UK are women, new research has revealed.

A study of income tax records by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) found that just 9.2 per cent of the top 0.1 per cent of salaries in the UK were earned by women in 2013. This made the UK the least equal of the eight economies analysed in the report, in terms of the gender pay divide at the very top.

Women made up less than a third (28.2 per cent) of the top 10 per cent of UK earners, and less than a fifth (17.8 per cent) of the top 1 per cent. The report said that, while female representation in high income brackets had risen over the past 20 years, it was changed little in the top 0.1 per cent. The presence of a “glass ceiling” has become “more apparent” in the UK over that time, the authors added.

Report author Alessandra Casarico said: “Women now make up more of the top income groups, but they still are a distinct minority and they become rarer the higher one climbs.

“Composition of income is important,” she added. “In the old days, the rich were those with property; they have been replaced by chief executives and entrepreneurs, among whom women are not well represented.”

To redress the balance of women in senior roles, Business in the Community (BITC) recommends employers focus more on organisational and cultural change, and less on short-term interventions that seek to ‘fix the women’ – which it said have little impact on the structural barriers to equality such low uptake of shared parental leave and the concentration of women in low-paid ‘feminised’ roles.

Employers should also monitor appraisal ratings by gender, urged BITC, and investigate which employees are being defined as ‘high potential’ and are attending leadership courses.

Meanwhile, it’s thought that the UK’s gender pay gap would not close until 2069 unless significant action is taken, according to professional services firm Deloitte.

Deloitte’s research found that women in full-time work earned almost 10 per cent less per hour than men in full-time work between 2002 and 2015, and this disparity was closing at an average rate of just 2.5p per year. In certain sectors, including skilled trades and education, the gap was widening, it found.

Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, said employers had a big role to play in the fight for gender pay parity.

She said girls should be encouraged to consider studying and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Deloitte’s research showed there was no difference in average starting salary for men and women who studied engineering or technology.

“The impact that employers can make should not be under-estimated,” said Codd.

“Whether it is providing educators and policymakers with practical insights into career requirements, giving students access to mentors in the STEM professions, or ensuring that the workplace is an environment where women can build successful careers, each business has a part to play.

“A great deal of progress has been made in the past half century, but we should not wait another 53 years for full parity,” she added.

The government this summer issued a consultation setting out in detail its plans for gender pay reporting in the public sector. Separate regulations will come into force by the end of this year to require employers in the private sector to publish gender pay levels by April 2018.


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