Business are being urged to be more open-minded about female staff’s working hours to close the UK’s gender pay gap.New data compiled by the Press Association, using Office for National Statistics figures, revealed that in their 20s a woman will typically earn £1,111 more than their male colleagues, but in their 30s they trail men by a huge average of £8,775. Ann Pickering, HR director at O2, said the research, which looks at data between 2006 and 2013, highlighted that there is still a long way to go before genuine pay parity between women and men is achieved. “While women are earning slightly more than men in their 20s, they are still overtaken by men later in life – and the reason is simple. Women are playing catch-up when it comes to reaching senior well-paid positions,” she said. “If women are not in the same roles as men, how can they be on the same wage? The slight salary imbalance in favour of women early on in their careers is particularly interesting – and makes that ‘drop-off’ point in women’s careers and salaries all the more stark.” Read more on gender inequality:
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Smethers said it was a “worrying trend”. She suggested one of the factors in this drop is the fact that women have suffered more from the economic downturn. “Women have been suffering more than men because they had even less job security,” she said. “They were more at risk and thus worse hit when the recession struck.” Smethers suggested more needed to be done to persuade young women to take up apprentices in better paying industries. “Women are steered into roles like caring, beauticians and so on. These are poorly paid roles. We need to do more to steer women into non-traditional roles, or at least make it clear to them what these pay,” she said.
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