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Gender pay gap doubles for over 40s, ONS data reveals, as women caught in ‘sandwich generation’

Summary

According to the latest ONS statistics, the gender pay gap for full-time employees aged 40 and over is much higher than for employees aged below 40. Experts have attributed this to the "motherhood pay penalty," where women often transition to lower-paid roles or work part-time in order to balance family responsibilities. The gender pay gap for full-time employees aged 60 and over is currently the highest of all age groups, and further statistics show that fewer women in their 40s and 50s are in higher-paid occupations. The lack of flexible working options for women who are juggling childcare and other caring responsibilities with work is also seen as a significant barrier to career progression. In addition, Black and minority women are hit the hardest by the gender pay gap. Experts suggest employers think more creatively about how, when, and where people work in order to attract and retain a more diverse range of people, while the CIPD offers a gender pay gap reporting guide.

Q&As

What is the gender pay gap across different age groups in the UK?
The gender pay gap for full-time employees aged 40 and under is 4.7 per cent or below, while for those aged 40 to 49 years and older, it is 10.3 per cent or higher. The gender pay gap for full-time employees aged 60 and over is currently the highest of all age groups, at 14.2 per cent.

What factors are contributing to the widening gender pay gap for those over 40?
Factors contributing to the widening gender pay gap for those over 40 include women transitioning into lower-paid roles or working part time to balance family responsibilities, the "motherhood pay penalty", and the unequal distribution and undervaluation of care work performed by women.

How is the lack of flexible working options negatively affecting women's career progression?
The lack of flexible working options is a significant barrier to career progression for women, as they are more likely to be juggling childcare and other caring responsibilities with work. This can lead to reduced earnings and contribute to the widening gender pay gap.

What are the steps that employers can take to close the gender pay gap?
Employers must think more creatively about how, when and where people work to attract and retain a more diverse range of people, enabling them to develop and progress. They must also stop asking discriminatory salary history questions and introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting.

How have the latest ONS statistics impacted the real terms pay for full-time employees?
The latest ONS statistics show that median weekly earnings for full-time employees fell by 1.5 per cent on the year in real terms, once adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index.

AI Comments

👍 It's great to see the ONS statistics and this article highlighting the gender pay gap and the challenges women face in the workforce. It's encouraging to read that employers are encouraged to think more creatively about flexible working options to attract and retain a more diverse range of people.

👎 It's concerning to see that the gender pay gap has increased for those over 40 and that the largest increase in the gap was seen among those aged 30 to 39 years. It's worrying that employers are not doing enough to address this issue and provide more equitable wages for women.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about the gender pay gap and how it is larger for those over 40. The ONS data reveals that pay gap is increasing across all age groups except for those aged 18 to 21. They cite the 'sandwich generation' as a major factor for this, as women in this age group are often responsible for caring for other family members in addition to dealing with their own health issues.

Friend: Wow, that's really concerning. It's clear that there are a lot of systemic challenges that women in the workforce are facing. It also seems like there's not enough support for women when it comes to flexible working options and career progression.

Me: Exactly. Organizations need to think more creatively about how to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive and provide more support for working parents and carers. There also needs to be more focus on closing the gender pay gap and addressing the undervaluation of care work, which is often performed by women.

Action items

Technical terms

Gender pay gap
The difference in average earnings between men and women.
ONS
Office for National Statistics, a UK government department responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society.
Full-time employees
Employees who work a set number of hours each week, usually 35-40 hours.
Motherhood pay penalty
The decrease in earnings that women experience after having children.
Sandwich generation
A term used to describe people who are caring for both their children and their elderly parents.
Pay gap
The difference in average earnings between two groups of people, such as men and women.
Real terms
A measure of inflation-adjusted value.
Consumer Prices Index
A measure of inflation used by the UK government.
Discrimination
Unfair treatment of a person or group based on their race, gender, age, or other characteristics.
Flexible working
Working arrangements that allow employees to work outside of traditional office hours or locations.
Ethnicity pay gap
The difference in average earnings between different ethnic groups.
Bystander culture
A culture in which people do not intervene when they witness inappropriate behaviour.
Harassment
Unwanted or inappropriate behaviour that is intended to cause distress or alarm.
Bullying
Unwanted or aggressive behaviour that is intended to intimidate or hurt someone.

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