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Women facing pay inequality at all levels of career ladder?

Last month we blogged about recent findings which highlighted that the gender pay gap is greatest at managerial level, with a study of over 72,000 managers finding that women in full-time equivalent roles earn 22% less than men. But what about women just starting to climb the career ladder?

Research by the Office of National Statistics had suggested that the gender pay gap effectively does not exist between young people aged 18 – 39, with women aged between 22 and 29 slightly out earning men. However, a poll commissioned by the Young Women’s Trust challenging the ONS findings has revealed that women face pay injustice right from the start of their careers. The findings reveal that young male apprentices earn 21% more than their female counterparts, with male apprentices earning, on average, £5.85 per hour compared to the £4.82 per hour earned by their female colleagues. This leaves young female apprentices £2,000 worse off per year than their male counterparts.

Additionally, the research highlights that after completing their apprenticeships, 16% of women were left unemployed compared to just 6% of men.

The discrepancy could partly be explained by the very different sectors that young male and female apprentices are [stereotypically] attracted to, with women tending to apply for apprenticeships in health care, retail and administration, which are generally poorly paid compared to, for example, engineering. However, this could suggest that more needs to be done to eradicate gender stereotypes when it comes to recruitment and training opportunities for young people.

The new proposals by the UK government which will require large employers, with over 250 employees, to publish information showing differences in pay between men and women, may shed more light on the extent of the gender pay gap. Time will tell whether mandatory reporting will help to level the playing field.

Please get in touch with your usual Brodies’ contact if you are looking for advice on pay equality or the new mandatory reporting requirements.

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