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09 Jan 2017

Gender pay gap falls to 5% for workers below 30

New research has revealed that the gender pay gap has halved to 5% for women in their 20s, The Guardian reports; yet the discrepancy continues to follow a generations-old pattern of widening when women reach 30.

A report published by the Resolution Foundation aims to highlight the challenge facing Prime Minister Theresa May when it comes to closing the gender pay gap. It argues that despite improvements in pay differentials during the first decade a woman is employed, women entering work today will still earn significantly less than their male counterparts.

According to data from the think tank, which compared the average hourly pay of different generations of men and women throughout their careers, the pay gap for the millennial generation – those born between 1981 and 2000 – is just 5%.

That´s less than the 9% gap witnessed by Generation X - those born between 1966 and 1980 – and the 16% among Baby Boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1965.

As the researchers note, this demonstrates that the gender pay gap has closed for every subsequent generation of women, reflecting “positive trends, including rising higher educational participation which women in particular have benefited from, and more women breaking into high-paying industries and occupations.”

Although women aged 20 to 29 currently in work have a greater chance of earning the same as their male counterparts, there remains a sharp rise in the pay gap after the age of 30, as seen in previous generations.

This means that unless there is further government intervention, millennial women are set to face a deficit of almost 30% by the time they reach their mid-40s, says the report.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron had sworn to “end the gender pay gap in a generation,” while May´s first statement as PM promised to create “a Britain that works for everyone.”

Sarah Champion, a Labour spokesperson for women and equalities, said that while it is “encouraging” to see the pay gap narrowing for people in their 20s, “it is also clear that this Tory government is failing to address its underlying long-term causes.”

Meanwhile, the report´s author Laura Gardiner stressed the positives from the report, stating: “The rate of progress between generations is really welcome, particularly with Generation X. Even in the child-rearing years there´s still really big gains.”

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2017

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