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BUSINESS NEWS - UK-Today Marks ‘Equal Pay Day’, When Women Effectively Stop Earning Relative to Men

Posted 18th November 2021 • Written by •

Today, 18 November, marks ‘Equal Pay Day’ the day where women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap, according to the Fawcett Society.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average pay of men and women within a particular group or population. Fawcett uses the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK to calculate the gender pay gap for Equal Pay Day which this year is 11.9%, an increase from 10.6% last year. 

An increase in the gender pay gap can be seen for women in this year's data, from the ONS Gender Pay Gap in the UK 2021, with younger women facing a rising gender pay gap.

Felicia Willow, Interim CEO of the Fawcett Society, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has made collecting the gender pay gap data difficult and is likely to have had an impact on inequality in the labour market itself. We will need to wait until furlough, data collection and other issues have ended before we can be certain of what has happened.”

“Our recent research has shown the severe impacts of the pandemic on younger women particularly, both on the sectors they work in and on their mental health,” Willow added. “Today’s data suggest the pay gap for them may be rising, and that action is needed to stop this turning into a long-term increase in the gender pay gap.”

“Whilst gender pay gap reporting has been effective in getting big employers to act, it needs to go much further, we want to see government requiring mandatory action plans from employers to tackle gender pay gap in the workforce, as well as sharing data,” Willow continued.

“The pandemic has had a tough and disproportionate impact on women, in particular women of colour, disabled women and mothers,” Willow said. “And now in addition to this, a widening gender pay gap paints a worrying picture. The government needs to take bold action, from improving childcare provision, making flexible working available to everyone, and tackling the rising cost of living.”

Ann Limb, Chair of City & Guilds, said, “With this year’s Equal Pay Day highlighting that the gender pay gap has widened, we face a very real risk of undoing the progress towards gender parity made within the last few years. If we’re truly looking to reboot our economy, we need women in the workplace to fill critical skills gaps and provide the diverse perspectives and leadership styles that help organisations and societies to thrive.”

Limb continued, ““In order to get back on the path to progress, we need to start by offering better career advice and guidance to girls from primary school age onwards. This includes an improved careers service for women who want or need to retrain later in their careers.”

“We are calling on the Government and employers to lend support to the improvement of careers services, including the development of a more comprehensive online advice system. In addition, to help women upskill and continue to contribute throughout their working lives, we need to look at how we can offer greater flexibility not only in the workplace, but for training and reskilling opportunities as well,” Limb added.

City & Guilds research found that 69% of women state that they don’t have all the skills they’ll need to succeed in their career in the next five years. Meanwhile, 37% of women have not received formal workplace training in the last three years whilst 59% have not received any training in the past year.