Issue date
06 Mar 2019

Gender pay gap means women effectively work for free for more than two months of year

  • Women’s Pay Day – the day when the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man – is today (Wednesday 6 March)
  • Women effectively work for free for 65 days of the year compared to men
  • In the West Midlands the gender pay gap is wider and women work for free until tomorrow (Thursday 7 March)

Analysis published by the TUC today (Wednesday) reveals that the average woman has to wait more than two months of the calendar year before she starts to get paid, compared to the average man.

The current gender pay gap for all employees stands at 17.9%. This pay gap means that women effectively work for free for the first 65 days of the year, until they begin to get paid on Women’s Pay Day today.

Regional gender pay gaps

The analysis published today – which is also the first day of the TUC’s annual women’s conference in London – shows that in some parts of the country gender pay gaps are even bigger so their Women’s Pay Day is later in the year.

  • In the East of England the gender pay gap is 20.3%, so Women’s Pay Day in that part of the country won’t fall for another 9 days (Friday 15 March).
  • Women in the South East (19.3% pay gap) and the East Midlands (19.2%) have to wait until Monday (11 March) for their Women’s Pay Day.
  • And women in the West Midlands (18.3% pay gap) wait until tomorrow (7 March).

Regional variations in the gender pay gap are likely to be caused by differences in the types of jobs and industries that are most common in that part of the UK.

Industrial gender pay gaps

The analysis also shows that in a number of key industries – even in those dominated by female workers like education and social work – gender pay gaps are even bigger. In these sectors women get paid much less on average than men, both because they are more likely to be in part-time jobs and because they are in lower-paid roles.

  • In education the gender pay gap is currently 25.9%, so the average woman effectively works for free for more than a quarter of the year (95 days) and has to wait until the 4 April 2019 before she starts earning the same as the average man.
  • In information and communication, the average woman waits 77 days for her Women’s Pay Day on 18 March 2019.
  • The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. The gender pay gap is the equivalent of 130 days, meaning its more than a third of the year before Women’s Pay Day finally kicks in on 10 May 2019.

TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:

“The UK still has one of the worst gender pay gaps in Europe. Women effectively work for free for two months of the year – and at current rates of progress it’ll take another 60 years for this gap to close.

“Making employers publish information on their gender pay gaps is a start but it’s nowhere near enough. Employers must be legally required to explain how they’ll tackle pay inequality at their workplaces and advertise jobs on a more flexible basis.

“Women in the UK will only start to get paid properly when part-time jobs are better-paid and jobs are flexible from day one. And we need higher wages in key sectors like social care.

“Workplaces that recognise unions are more likely to have family-friendly policies and fair pay. So a good first step for women worried about their pay is to join a union.”

ENDS

Editors note

- What is Women’s Pay Day?

  • Women’s Pay Day is the day of the year when the average woman starts being paid, compared to the average man.
  • The TUC introduced Women’s Pay Day in 2017 to replace Equal Pay Day, the day of the year when the average woman stops being paid compared to the average man.
  • The TUC made this change to: (1) bring the UK into line with how equal pay is calculated in the US, Canada and most of Europe, and to (2) allow the most up-to-date information on women’s pay. Women’s Pay Day is calculated using the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Holding the day at the start of the year allows it to be based on the latest survey data.
  • The overall gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for all male and female employees using the latest ASHE data. The gender pay gap percentage (17.9% in the latest ASHE data) is then translated into days of the year (65 days) when women start earning the equivalent to men.

- Women’s Pay Day by region, source the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2018.

Region

Gender Pay Gap

Number of days women work for free

Women’s Pay Day

East of England

20.3%

74

15 March 2019

South East

19.3%

70

11 March 2019

East Midlands

19.2%

70

11 March 2019

South West

18.7%

68

9 March 2019

Yorkshire and the Humber

18.6%

67

8 March 2019

West Midlands

18.3%

66

7 March 2019

UK average

17.9%

65

6 March 2019

North East

17.0%

62

3 March 2019

London

16.7%

60

1 March 2019

North West

16.4%

59

28 February 2019

Scotland

15.0%

54

23 February 2019

Wales

13.6%

47

18 February 2019

Northern Ireland

9.6%

33

4 February 2019

- Women’s Pay Day by industry, source the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) 2018.

Industry

% gender pay gap

Number of days

Women’s Pay Day

Transport and storage

4.8%

18

17 January 2019

Accommodation and food services

4.8%

18

17 January 2019

Admin and support services

8.2%

30

29 January 2019

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

6.8%

25

24 January 2019

Arts, entertainment and recreation

12.1%

44

13 February 2019

Real estate

14.9%

54

23 February 2019

Public admin and defence

15.4%

56

25 February 2019

Construction

16.3%

59

28 February 2019

Human health and social work

17.3%

63

4 March 2019

Wholesale and retail, motor vehicle repair

17.8%

63

5 March 2019

All employees

17.9%

65

6 March 2019

Manufacturing

20.3%

74

15 March 2019

Information and communication

21.2%

77

18 March 2019

Professional, scientific and technical

22.7%

83

23 March 2019

Education

25.9%

95

4 April 2019

Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning

26.8%

98

7 April 2019

Financial and insurance

35.7%

130

10 May 2019

- The gender pay gap is calculated using all median hourly pay, excluding overtime, for male and female employees from the ONS ASHE data: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2017provisionaland2016revisedresults
- Since 2011 the gender pay gap has fallen by an average of just 0.3 percentage points a year. At this rate it will take around 60 years (until 2078) to achieve pay parity between men and women.


- For information about gender splits in industries please visit: www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/employmentbyindustryemp13
- TUC Women’s Conference: Women’s Pay Day falls on the first day of the TUC Women’s Conference, which runs from Wednesday 6-Friday 8 March at the TUC headquarters at Congress House, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.


- Gender pay gap reporting: From 1 April 2017, the government ruled that large companies have to publish information about the difference between average male and female earnings. The TUC believes the government must go further and wants employers to be made to carry out equal pay audits, and to produce action plans to close the pay gap in their workplace. The TUC also wants companies that fail to comply with the law to receive instant fines.


- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

TUC press office

media@tuc.org.uk
020 7467 1248