'Dismally slow' progress on gender pay gap rate
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 November 2019
Women in North Somerset take home £10,000 less than men on average, new gender pay gap figures have shown.
The difference between pay is narrowing at a 'dismally slow' rate, according to critics.
Companies must release data showing the median average wages taken home by men and women.
But across the district, full-time working women earn considerably less.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show the hourly difference is 21.5 per cent, down from 23.2 per cent in 2018. Part-time figures are similar.
The figures also show women working full-time pocket an average salary of £24,024, which is £11,762 less than the average man's salary of £35,786.
Nationally, the average gender pay gap is 17.3 per cent across all work patterns.
Gender equality charity the Fawcett Society says it would take 60 years to eradicate the gap at the current rate.
Sam Smethers, the charity's chief executive, said: "Too many women are trapped in low paid part-time work or locked out of non-traditional sectors while others experience pay or pregnancy discrimination."
Across the UK, male workers in full-time jobs earn 8.9 per cent more than their female counterparts.
The rate has risen for the first time in six years, going up from 8.6 per cent in 2018.
But ONS statistician Roger Smith said the national increase was not 'statistically significant', adding it is too early to say if it marks a change in trend.
He said: "We also saw an increase in 2013 followed by a return to downward trend in subsequent years.
"However, the downward trend is a slow one regardless."
For people aged under 40, the wage gap for full-time employees is now 'close to zero', the ONS said.
Equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath added: "As we enter the third year of reporting, the attention really needs to shift to action.
"It should be mandatory for employers to publish, alongside their pay gap data, plans with specific targets and deadlines."
An estimated 18,000 women in North Somerset worked part-time last year, around 46 per cent of the female workforce, but of the 36,000 working men, too few were in part-time work for the ONS to provide an estimate.