Mothers returning to work are being punished with an increased pay gap compared to women who do not have a child, according to a new report.
The research, released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), found that once a woman has her first child, during the subsequent 12 years the hourly pay rate falls 33 per cent behind men’s.
This compares to women who don’t have children, who on average receive 18 per cent less per hour than men. This gap in average hourly wages has been steadily decreasing over the last two decades. In 1993, the gap stood at 28 per cent, while in 2003 it was 23 per cent.
The IFS reasons that the widening pay gap after childbirth is due to mothers returning to work part-time and subsequently losing out on wage progression.
The report also found that for women with a degree of A-levels, the gender pay gap has essentially remained the same for the last 20 years. It is only amongst the lowest educated, such as those with less than A-levels, that is has been steadily declining.
Robert Joyce, Associate Director at IFS and author of the report said, “The gap between the hourly pay of higher-educated men and women has not closed at all in the last 20 years.
“The reduction in the overall gender wage gap has been the result of more women becoming highly educated, and a decline in the wage gap among the lowest-educated.”
“Women in jobs involving fewer hours of work have particularly low hourly wages, and this is because of poor pay progression, not because they take an immediate pay cut when switching away from full-time work.”
“Understanding that lack of progression is going to be crucial to making progress in reducing the gender wage gap.”