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Gender pay gap at record low of 8.6%

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The UK’s gender pay gap has reached a record low 8.6%, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said provisional figures showed the median difference in full-time hourly pay was down from a level of 9.1% the previous year.

However, there was little cheer for overall earnings power given that wage increases have been battling inflation – the pace of price increases – for supremacy during the 12 months to April.








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However, the latest wage and inflation figures covering more recent months have pointed to pay currently winning the day with the strongest growth for almost a decade.

Senior ONS earnings statistician Roger Smith, who compiled the wage data for 2017/18, said: “Average weekly pay for full-time employees is now increasing at its fastest since the financial crisis, in cash terms, with hourly pay rising fastest among lower-paid occupations.

“However, after taking account of inflation, earnings are still only where they were in 2011, and have not yet returned to pre-downturn levels.

“The gender pay gap fell to 8.6% on our headline measure, its lowest ever. But it isn’t the same for everyone – it’s close to zero for employees aged under 40, but widens for those who are older.”

The gender pay figure is the first to be released since the UK’s largest employers were obliged to submit data on the earnings of men and women.








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While the statistics, released in April, were able to demonstrate the extent of the work still needed they were unable to explain the reasons for the disparity.

:: Gender pay gap figures pose more questions

The ONS figures were released hours after the BBC came under heavy fire again over its efforts to ensure fairness.

The TUC union organisation said ministers had to exert real pressure on employers if things were to truly change.

Its general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Working women won’t be celebrating this negligible decrease in the gender pay gap.

“At this rate, another generation of women will spend their whole working lives waiting to be paid the same as men.

“Companies shouldn’t just be made to publish their gender pay gaps, they should be legally required to explain how they’ll close them, and bosses who flout the law should be fined.”

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