Britain's Gender remuneration gap widens at the top

Even after decades of demands for women to receive salaries equal to their male counterparts, the United Kingdom still currently ranks a dismal 23rd on the global gender gap index, placing it behind other European countries such as France, Germany, and Ireland.

On the Gender gap scale, going from 0 to 1, Australia has the smallest gender equality gap (0.7) and Iceland the largest (0.89). The UK is placed at 0.78.

The call for equality across all industries has without a doubt been heeded and much progress has been made, yet, male leaders often unwittingly believe a balance between men and women's pay scales was already achieved long ago.

Nothing could be further than the truth. Britain's appalling ranking on the global gender gap index is on a similar footing to Hungary and China. The UK's gender equality gap also grows wider the higher up the corporate ladder you go. Older women in senior positions get much less compared to their male counterparts the same age.

UK gender remuneration gap statistics

Here are the latest statistics for the UK gender equality gap published in 2021. They reveal significant differences between men and women's pay in different sectors.

Women earn lower hourly wage

The gender pay gap for an hourly wage in the UK between 1997 and 2020 has seen men consistently earn more than women. Today the average hourly wage for a females £14.87 per hour. For men the average wage is £16.25 per hour. That's a difference of almost 10 per cent.

Women earn £5,000 less than men in UK each year

In 2021 the average annual full-time salary for men in the UK was £33,400. For women it averaged much less at £28,300; a gap of more than £5,100. That's a 16.5 per cent difference.

UK Gender equality gap grows with age

Career women pay an even higher price as they age as the gap widens. The difference in salaries for men and women aged 22 to 29 is less than one per cent but earnings for women in their 50s are typically 12.3 per cent less than men the same age. Their years of experience are sadly undervalued.

Gender remuneration gap across all industries averages 15%

Overall, the difference between average hourly earnings for men and women across all industries in the United Kingdom is just over 15 per cent but swings wildly in different sectors.

Gender pay gap by sector

In professions in sectors such as Accommodation & Food Services, Transportation and Storage and Agriculture, the gender remuneration gap is relatively small – between 0.7 and 5 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, the gap widens for professions in scientific and technical fields to 20 per cent. In the Education sector the gender equality gap widens further still to more than 25 per cent. The gender pay gap is largest in the Finance & Insurance sector with a 30 per cent difference between earnings for men and women.

Symbolic of the continued male dominance of directorship roles in the financial sector is that only 20 per cent of board members in the FTSE 350 are women.

Domestic helpers enjoy the smallest gender equality gap

Ironically, women working menial jobs for an hourly wage are on a much fairer footing than female executives. The only profession where women are generally paid more than men – creating a negative gender equality gap of -1.9 per cent – is Household Employment.

Given the 'progressive' image Britain proudly displays, these startling figures show there's still much work to be done to close the gender equality gap in the UK if we are to truly be a nation that unashamedly celebrates diversity.

How Xist4 is closing the gender equality gap

At Xist4 we're dedicated to closing the gender equality gap by partnering with organisations to attract, hire and retain the best high-performing talent.

We specialise in sourcing professionals from a broad spectrum of sectors and backgrounds to fill key positions that often lack diversity in gender and ethnicity, such as C-suite, mid-senior level digital, technology and engineering roles.

We're collaborating with some of the UK's most influential organisations to improve gender equality, in the workplace and across conventionally male-dominated industry sectors, making us well-positioned to help you play a vital role in closing that equity gap for professionals.


We want to support organisation efforts to forge a more inclusive and fairer environment for your workforce. Get in touch and let Xist4 help you hire the best talent.

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