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Deloitte analysis: without action gender pay gap won’t close until 2069

24 September 2016

  • The gender pay gap has a variety of complex causes, and it will take a flexible and sustainable approach to eliminate it
  • Increasing female participation in STEM subjects and careers will help to reduce the gender pay gap
  • Although the gap is closing, the pace of change is slow and in certain sectors the gap is actually widening

The UK gender pay gap will not close until 2069 unless action is taken to tackle it now, according to new research by Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

Deloitte’s analysis shows that the difference in the hourly pay gap between men and women is closing at a rate of just 2.5 pence per annum*. In certain occupations, such as skilled trades and education, the gap is actually widening. Even in female-dominated occupations, such as teaching and caring, men receive considerably higher average pay. At this rate, the gender pay gap will not close for another 53 years.

Significantly, however, the gap in starting salaries between men and women who have studied Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and who go on to take jobs in these sectors, is far smaller**.

Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte, said: “There are many factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. One of these occurs before entering the workforce, when boys and girls decide what to study at school and university. Starting at GCSE level, where three times more boys than girls take computing and 50 percent more boys than girls study design and technology, these early decisions drive fundamental skill differences between the genders for those entering the workplace. The trend is likely to continue unless it is addressed now.

“We know that the pay gap is far smaller for those women starting their careers in STEM related roles; we also know that high-skilled jobs demanding a blend of cognitive, social and technical skills are typically among the most highly-paid. Therefore, if more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and - should they remain in their careers - the later ones. This in turn should serve to reduce the gender pay gap.”

Emma Codd concludes: “More must be done to encourage girls from an early age to understand the impact that their choice of studies can have on their career options; girls must be encouraged to consider a full range of STEM career options and to have access to role models who can provide an insight into such careers. Similarly, with many of those women who study STEM subjects opting for careers in non-STEM professions, businesses in STEM related professions must show that they can offer attractive career options for women. Without these efforts, businesses - and the economy as a whole - will miss out on a hugely valuable pool of potential talent. At Deloitte we are working hard to attract women into our firm at entry level and see engaging with them during their studies as a critical part of this process – we need to ensure that girls understand the importance of the choices they make for GCSE and beyond and that they have access to role models and mentors. We are also focused on ensuring that we provide a working environment where women can thrive at all stages of their career and that this is visible to female students as they make their career choices.

“While educators and policy makers will need to focus on tackling this challenge, the impact that employers can make should not be under-estimated. Whether it is providing educators and policymakers with practical insights into career requirements, giving students access to mentors in the STEM professions, or ensuring that the workplace is an environment where women can build successful careers, each business has a part to play. A great deal of progress has been made in the past half century, but we should not wait another 53 years for full parity.”

End

Notes to editors

* Deloitte analysis based on ONS data. The gap between men and women in full-time median hourly earnings currently stands at 9.4 per cent. The difference in median hourly pay awarded to men and women in full-time work as a percentage of male pay from 2002 to 2015.

** There was no difference in the median starting salary between men and women who studied engineering, technology, medicine and dentistry.
Women make up just 14.4 per cent of individuals working in ‘STEM occupations’ in the UK, and an analysis of the Labour Market Survey data from 2013 found that as many as 70 per cent of women with STEM qualifications were not working in STEM-related industries. Increasing this participation rate would give women a more balanced portfolio of skills and narrow the gender pay gap.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Laura Parsons
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7303 0885
+44 (0) 78 2695 2940
lauparsons@deloitte.co.uk

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