East Midlands’ gender pay gap one of the highest in the UK

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The earnings gap between male and female workers in the East Midlands is one of the highest amongst the UK’s 12 regions, according to PwC’s annual Women in Work Index, published this week.

The average female worker in the East Midlands would need a 26% wage hike – around £6,800 a year – to achieve parity with average male wages in the region. That compares to an £8,800 (20%) annual gender pay gap in London.

PwC’s research shows that a high proportion of women in the East Midlands work in lower-paying sectors such as wholesale & retail and health services.

Paul Norbury, senior partner for PwC in the East Midlands, said: “Despite a positive picture nationally that women in the UK have benefitted from the improving economy, it’s a much bleaker picture in the East Midlands. Given the region’s thriving manufacturing industries, we are seeing men earning more in these sectors compared to women in lower-paid sectors such as retail and health services.

“By fully closing the gender pay gap we could boost women’s earnings by £85 billion. Women in the East Midlands would need a £6,800 wage increase to be on a par with men, which is higher than the UK-wide average of £6,100 per woman per year. It’s not just about getting more women working, but also about getting more of them into high quality jobs that offer career progression and flexibility”.

PwC’s research shows that, based on a continuation of historical trends, it could take until 2041 (24 years) to close the gender pay gap.

Clare Maio, head of diversity and inclusion at PwC in the Midlands, said: “While it’s encouraging that the UK is making progress on closing the gender pay gap, it is a stark outlook that it will still take around a generation to close it completely. Pay reporting requirements should help speed up change as businesses will face greater accountability. But merely reporting numbers without any concrete action, won’t change anything.

“We know that women are ambitious – we now need to create workplaces that support their ambition, and enough skilled and senior roles that have the flexibility to accommodate work and caring responsibilities”.