New Gender Pay Gap Remains Stubbornly High

Close the Gap has calculated the difference in pay between women and men working in Scotland using the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) tables released from the Office of National Statistics this morning.

2016 has shown the stubborn nature of the pay gap with the overall mean figure remaining just below 15% with a slight increase of 0.1% on the 2015 figure, now sitting at 14.9%.

Similarly women working full-time now earn 10.7% less than men working full-time, also an increase of 0.1 percentage points.

2016 did however see a decrease of 1.3 percentage points on the part-time figure to 32.2%, when comparing women’s part-time average earnings to men’s full-time average earnings. This could be partly due to the impact of the introduction of the living wage by a number of Scotland’s public sector employers. Women are more likely to work within the public sector and be concentrated in part-time work in undervalued, low-paid jobs such as cleaning, admin, caring which would benefit most from the introduction of the living wage.


Overall pay gap %

Full-time pay gap %

Part-time pay gap %









Third sector





Source ONS (2016) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings Table 25.6A (Accessed OCT 2016.)


The public sector overall, full-time and part-time pay gaps are lower than the national averages, whilst the private sector pay gap is considerably higher for each group. The Public sector pay gap also decreased by 0.9% which may have contributed to the overall reduction in the part-time pay gap. For the first time the new ASHE release has allowed for pay gap’s in the third sector to be calculated. The figures for this sector were all higher than the national averages for Scotland.

Despite there being little change in the Scottish pay gap for 2016 the new figures for Scotland continue to remain lower than the UK overall figure of 17.3% and for the full-time (13.9%) and part-time pay gaps (32.7%).




Overall pay gap %



Full-time pay gap %



Part-time pay gap %



Source ONS (2016) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings Table 3.6A (Accessed OCT 2016.)

The gender pay gap: at a glance

  • The mean average overall gender pay gap is 14.9%.
  • Women working full-time earn 10.7% less than men working full-time.
  • Women working part-time earn 32.2% less than men working full-time, showing that part-time work continues to be characterised by low pay.
  • The mean is calculated by adding all employees’ hourly rates of pay together and dividing by the total number of employees. This includes those on the highest and lowest rates of pay. As those with the highest rates of pay tend to be men, and those who receive the lowest pay are more likely to be women, the mean captures a more complete picture of the gender pay gap.
  • The median is calculated by finding the midpoint in all employees’ hourly rates of pay and discarding the lowest and highest rates of pay. The median is not skewed by very low hourly rates or pay or very high hourly rates of pay, but this method can obscure gendered pay differences

While we're developing our updated annual paper on gender pay gap statistics, if you want to know about the key indicator of women's labour market equality, you can find out more from our 2015 paper.

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Close the Gap Working Paper 17: Gender Pay Gap StatisticsClose the Gap Working Paper 17: Gender Pay Gap Statistics This paper is an updated version of Working Paper 16: Statistics published in 2016.