Gender pay gap widens while median salary increases to £27,000 a year

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE 2013) was published today by the Office for National Statistics.  We have updated XpertHR with the key findings, while the full breakdowns can be found on the ONS website.

The main news from the survey is that the UK’s full-time gender pay gap has widened for the first time in five years, from a revised 9.5% in April 2012 to 10% in April 2013, based on median hourly earnings excluding overtime for full-time workers only. The earnings of male employees on this measure went up 2.5%, higher than the 1.9% increase in female employees’ earnings.

When both male and female hourly earnings (excluding overtime) are counted, the gender pay gap is significantly wider at 19.7%, almost the same as the 19.6% reported for 2012.

The gender pay gap based on mean, full-time hourly earnings has widened from 14.8% to 15.7%, a fact which led TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady to put out a statement today saying that: “The light touch, voluntary approach to tackling gender pay inequality is clearly failing. We need tougher action to force companies to look at their pay gaps”.

Hourly earnings increased for female part-time workers by 3.2%, compared with a 3% increase for male part-time workers. However there is no shift in the seemingly intractable gap between the earnings of part-time female employees and full-time male employees, which stands at 38.2%.

The median, gross annual salary for full-time UK employees now stands at a round £27,000, up 2.1% on the previous year’s figure. Gross weekly earnings are a median £517, up 2.2% on the previous year.

The ONS comments that up until 2008 there was a fairly steady annual increase in weekly earnings, averaging around 4% each year. But since the start of the recession earnings growth has been much slower, with the annual increase averaging around 2% each year between 2009 and 2013.

These latest figures mark the fifth consecutive year that the growth rate in median weekly earnings has been lower than Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation. However, John Philpott points out on his Jobs Economist blog that the fact that most of the headline weekly wage increases recorded for 2013 are considerably higher than the 1% growth suggested by the average weekly earnings series that the ONS publishes each month may suggest “a less severe average real pay squeeze and a more limited cost of living crisis than previously thought”.


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