UK must ‘solve the culture challenge’ to truly close gender pay gap



New research shows that the UK has made progress on narrowing the gender wage gap and increasing female labour, but still ranks 18th out of the 27 OECD countries.

The latest study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), called Women in Work Index, reveals that the UK has taken steps to close the gender pay gap and improve the representation of women in top roles.

However, it still ranks 18th out of the 27 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), down from the 14th position it had in 2000.

Gaenor Bagley, head of people and an executive board member at PwC, said, “The low level of females in full-time employment is holding back both the UK’s economic recovery and women’s career progression. Despite the perception that flexible working helps women, our index and wider research suggests that it could instead be holding them back in many cases.

“The reality on the ground is that people who work flexibly feel they have to work harder for promotion, are resented by their peers and don’t progress as quickly.”

She added that working part-time has negative effects for women in the long-term.

PwC’s research took into account the equality of wages with men, the proportion of women in work, female unemployment rates and the proportion of women in full-time employment.

Norway, Denmark and Sweden occupy the first three positions, while Italy, Greece and Korea are at the bottom of the ranking.

Despite policy moving in the right direction, the UK’s cultural perception of gender equality needs to catch up”, Bagley said.

“Some of the reasons the Nordic countries top the index is down to the recognition that all individuals should be able to balance their career and family life, and to support themselves. For the UK to make real progress we first need to solve the culture challenge.”

Research published in October last year revealed that the number of female managers in the City of London had doubled compared to the previous year, representing 20% of the overall professional employees.

Further reading:

Women play a key role in helping make the investment world sustainable

Number of women on FTSE 100 boards above 20% for first time

Global gender gap getting narrower, as women seek equal footing

Percentage of female City managers has doubled in the last year

The gender pay gap: female managers paid 25% less than men and given smaller bonuses


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