Recent data published by the Official National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that the UK’s gender pay gap, calculated using the median hourly earnings of full-time employees, has fallen to 7.4% from 9% in 2019. Significantly, as of April 2020, female workers earned 92.6% of male employees’ hourly pay. This reduction was reflected across age groups, with the gender pay gap for full-time workers under-40 particularly low at “close to zero”. Interestingly, the most significant reduction in the gender pay gap occurred among managers, directors and senior officials, falling from 16.3% in 2019 to 9.9% in 2020. ONS highlighted the fact that “this occupation group has the highest median pay of any occupation … and therefore has a strong impact on the gender pay gap” overall.
As a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the Government Equalities Office and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission suspended gender pay gap reporting regulations back in March 2020. Although this data takes furloughed workers’ pay into account, the ONS warned that the impact of the pandemic may not be fully reflected.