Two-thirds of UK’s gender pay gap remains ‘unexplained’

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Two-thirds of the UK’s gender pay gap remains ‘unexplained’, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

New analysis from the ONS found that the gender pay gap in Britain could not be explained by factors such as the lack of senior women and the level of women working part-time.

However, when ONS adjusted for these factors it found they could only account for 36.1 per cent of the median hourly pay gap. The rest – 63.9 per cent – was still unexplained.

The ONS currently calculate that the UK gender pay gap stands at 9.1 per cent – the lowest since the ONS started calculating the figure in 1997.

In early January, over 500 UK companies released their gender pay gap data under new Government rules, revealing shocking pay disparities.

Among the 527 companies who announced their data, Phase Eight and EasyJet reported a gap of over 50 per cent.

The ONS new analysis also comes after it was revealed the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie had quit over a gender pay gap row.

Gracie cited in an open letter that she was quitting over pay inequality

Speaking about the new analysis, the ONS said, “Factors such as the number of children, the age of children, whether parents have any caring responsibilities, the number of years spent in school and the highest level of qualification achieved are likely to improve the estimation of men’s and women’s pay structures and consequently decrease the unexplained element of the pay gap.”

“As a result, the unexplained element should not be interpreted as a measure of discriminatory behaviour, though it is possible that this plays a part.”

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party said, “The ONS analysis has debunked the myth that women are paid less than men simply because they ‘choose’ to do lower-paid jobs.”

“We struggle to make progress on the pay gap because every conversation seems to have to start by proving it exists against sexist comments about ‘lifestyle choices’.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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