Close the Gap calls for cohesive, strategic response as new figures show Scotland’s gender pay gap hasn’t budged
Close the Gap has calculated the new gender pay gap figures for Scotland following the release of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings by the UK Office for National Statistics this morning. The bad news is Scotland’s pay gap hasn’t budged since last year, which sees women still being paid on average 15% less than men. It’s even worse for women working part-time who earn on average a staggering 32% less than men working full-time. Again, no change since last year. In fact, there’s been very little progress on narrowing the pay gap at all in recent years.
The figures make grim reading for working women in Scotland. Women’s employment continues to be clustered in undervalued, low-paid jobs, such as cleaning, caring and retail. After having children, or while having to do other types of unpaid care, women are still held back by the lack of quality part-time and flexible working.
Close the Gap has welcomed the new UK gender pay gap information regulations that require large companies in the UK to report their pay gap, but they don’t go far enough. The public sector equality duty has shown us that pay gap reporting alone will not close the gap. Without taking steps to change their employment practice and reduce their pay gap, employers are missing out on women’s under-used skills and talents. We’re developing a new online tool to support employers to report their pay gap, and most importantly, to support them in developing actions that will make a difference to their pay gap. It’s going to be launched in November, so watch this space.
The pay gap is an endemic problem which requires a cohesive, strategic response to address its many inter-related causes. We enthusiastically welcomed the Scottish Parliament Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee inquiry into the pay gap which recognised clear gains to Scotland’s economy worth up to £17bn. We co-ordinated a joint response to the inquiry from Scotland’s expert national women’s organisations, in which we supported the Committee’s call for Scottish Government to develop a national strategy on the pay gap. It’s time to translate the rhetoric around the pay gap into substantive action, and create meaningful change for women.
Over the next few weeks we'll be updating our annual paper on gender pay gap statistics but in the meantime you can read last year's here.