Gender pay gap barely narrows, but weekly earnings on the rise

18th November 2015


The gender pay gap has barely narrowed over the past four years, but overall, weekly wages have risen 1.8% in the year to April, official figures reveal.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows the difference between pay for male and female full-time workers was 9.4% in April 2015, compared with 9.6% in 2014.

This is the lowest since the survey began in 1997, although the gap has changed relatively little over the last four years at around £100 per week, the ONS said.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), reveals that men working full-time earn an average of £567 a week, while women earn £471.

The survey also shows that average weekly pay for full-time employees was £528 in April 2015, up by 1.8% from the previous year.

After adjusting for inflation, which was negative in the year to April, earnings were up by 1.9%, the first real terms increase since 2008.

On an annual basis, the median amount that workers earned before tax was £27,600.

Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange Debt Charity, says: “It is pleasing to see a first real term increase in wages since 2008 and this will make some difference to people who are struggling. However, years of below-inflation rises will have taken their toll on households and there is still much more to be done.

“People are still struggling on zero hours contracts, low paid jobs and other insecure incomes and this small rise in wages will not mean everyone is suddenly out of the woods. A quarter of our clients have a budget deficit and those with a surplus only have an average of £64 left after all of their outgoings. Though welcome, this increase in wages will not redress the balance of the last seven years, nor will it insulate them from the income shocks that push people into problem debt.

“14 million people suffered a shock to their income last year and 6.5m relied on credit to cope. We need to ensure that there are adequate safety nets in place to help people get back on their feet when they run into financial difficulty. If every family could build up £1,000 in savings it would prevent half a million of them from falling into problem debt, but this rise in wages is only the smallest of steps.”


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