UK gender pay gap widens but remains 'below pre-pandemic levels'

ONS figures showed a slight increase in the gap between men and women's average wage in 2022.

UK gender pay gap widens by over 8% in past year but remains below pre-pandemic levels, statistics show iStock

The gender pay gap for UK workers widened to 8.3% this year, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the difference in average earnings for full-time male and female employees struck the figure in April, rising from 7.7% in April 2021.

Nevertheless, it was down from 9% in April 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic heavily impacted the UK labour market.

The gap is higher in every English region than in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the report found.

ONS head of labour market and household statistics David Freeman said: “The gender pay gap is now some way below where it was before the pandemic.

“Although it’s up on the last two years, those figures were distorted by the effects of Covid-19, so it’s better to look at longer-term trends.”

The ONS revealed that the gender pay gap is particularly stark for older members of the workforce.

Full-time workers aged between 40 and 49 witnessed a 10.9% pay gap, compared with 3.2% or less for those under 40.

The latest data also highlighted that the highest earning male employees still earned significantly more than the equivalent female employee.

There was a 15.5% pay disparity between the highest earning male and female workers, while there was a 3% gap among the lowest earners.

However, there were signs that the gap could be reducing in some of the highest paid roles.

The largest fall in the gender pay gap for a specific job was among managers directors and senior officials, who saw the gap drop to 10.6% in 2022 from 16.3% in 2019.

The latest data also highlighted a significant variation in the gap across UK regions.

In Northern Ireland, women actually earned more than men this year, with a 4.6% difference in their favour.

The largest gap was in the south east, where the ONS recorded a 12.5% gap in favour of male workers.

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