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IWD 2024: Gender pay gap widening in the United Kingom
Wed, 6th Mar 2024

The gender pay gap in the UK has increased to 14.5%, resulting in the country dropping to 17th place in the PwC's Women in Work Index, the largest annual fall of any Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country this year. The report also disclosed that women in the UK are currently experiencing a 'pay penalty', earning only 90p for every £1 earned by a man with equivalent qualifications.

If left unaddressed, it will take four decades to close this gap, holding back both the economy and the mission to achieve gender equality in the technology sector. Were the gender pay gap eliminated, the increase in annual earnings in the UK could be as much as £55bn. Eliminating this gap could also entice women back into the workforce, potentially boosting the UK's GDP by up to £125bn annually if there was a 5% rise in female employment.

In 2022, the UK's gender pay gap increased from 14.3% to 14.5%, which is higher than the average OECD rate of 13.5%. This report, which evaluates progress made towards achieving gender equality in 33 OECD workplaces, also revealed the UK's pay gap had widened by 0.2 percentage points, making it higher than the average OECD's and over half the other 32 nations assessed.

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Group, remarked, “It is disheartening to see the gender pay gap widening across industry and highlights that many businesses across all sectors are falling behind the curve when it comes to fair and equal pay. Creating a supportive atmosphere to attract and retain female talent, through means such as narrowing the gender pay gap, should be a core priority across all organisations.”

Despite adjusting for various pay-determining factors, women in the UK still earn almost a tenth less on average than men. Businesses can address this by focusing on the tech sector's key issues preventing women's participation, thereby fostering a more inclusive and gender-balanced tech environment.

Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, added, “The subject of diversity, which can mean something different to every person, is one that is rightly front of mind for businesses across industries. However, when it comes to gender diversity, equality, and specifically the gender pay gap, the work is far from over. A widening gender pay gap will do nothing to encourage women - businesses must therefore take responsibility for prioritising equality, diversity, and inclusion.”

These findings coincide with the recent Motherhood Penalty campaign reveal that nearly 40% of women in tech leave their positions due to care responsibilities. As research has shown that work-life balance is the most important consideration for working parents, it is the responsibility of tech organisations to implement changes to retain female employees.