fbpx Revealed: Industries improving the gender pay gap for women

Revealed: Industries improving the gender pay gap for women

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New research shows that the median gender pay gap in the UK was 7.7% in 2023, and is only decreasing by an average of 0.2% each year.

In the UK, the gender pay gap still remains as a common issue, with four out of five companies paying their male employees at least 10% more than females.

Keen to find out more, experts at The Knowledge Academy analysed gender pay gap data across UK industries over the past 20 years to reveal which UK industries have the highest gender pay gap, and which sectors are making the biggest improvements.

Key findings:

  • The average gender pay gap across all industries in 2023 was 7.7%, compared to 10% in 2013.
  • The research shows that the median gender pay gap across all industries is only decreasing by an average of 0.2% each year.
  • Finance and insurance had the highest year-on-year improvements of 1.6% on average, but also had the highest median pay gap at 22.7% in 2023.
  • Five industries have widened their gender pay gap over the past 10 years, with the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry having the biggest year-on-year increase.
  • Six industries had a pay gap of less than 5% in 2023.

Which industries have the biggest gender pay gap and yearly change?

 Average yearly change year-on-yearMedian pay gap % of full time employees
Industry(2013 – 2023)20132023
Financial and insurance activities-1.638.622.7
Real estate activities-
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply-0.930.421.2
Human health and social work activities-0.917.89.3
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security-0.713.36.3
Information and communication-0.719.812.9
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles-0.713.26.4
Professional, scientific and technical activities-0.720.914.3
Other service activities-0.613.87.4
Agriculture, forestry and fishing-0.613.97.9
All employees-
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities-
Accommodation and food service activities-
Administrative and support service activities0.13.64.5
Transportation and storage0.20.22.3
Arts, entertainment and recreation0.41.34.8

Looking at the average yearly change year-on-year from 2013-2023, the finance and insurance industry have made the biggest gender pay gap improvement, at an average of 1.6%: the highest among all industries in the study. However, this is also the industry with the highest median pay gap, still standing at 22.7% in 2023.

The electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply industry also had a significantly higher median pay gap than average at 21.2% in 2023, but was also making yearly improvements of an average 0.9%.

Another industry making the most significant improvements is real estate (averaging 1.1% each year), perhaps even more notable given the industry’s median pay gap was brought down to a much lower figure of 4.1% in 2023.

The water supply/waste management industry, the transportation and storage industry, the accommodation/food service industry, and administrative industry, also all had gender pay gaps of under 5% in 2023.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation also had a comparatively low pay gap of 4.8% in 2023, however the number 10 years prior was just 1.3%, and the industry’s average year-on-year change was an increase of 0.4%. It should be noted that the Arts gender pay gap fluctuated greatly across the past 10 years, for example decreasing from 10.1% in 2019 to 0.9% in 2020, and back up to 10.9% in 2021.

Naomi Aharony, CEO of digital PR agency Reboot Online, commented on the importance of pay equality:

“Pay disparity between the sexes unfortunately still exists in 2024 despite efforts to close the gap. Equal pay for work of equal value provides a benefit to both society and the workplace such as higher retention rates, increased performance, attracting the best talent as well as increased growth and sustainability for the economy as a whole.

“Before I became CEO of Reboot I experienced first-hand the gender pay gap in my work life so wanted to do things differently here. Reboot has a female majority workforce with more than 65% of senior positions being held by women. Our Board of Directors is 50% female which means from the top-down women’s voices are heard and respected.

“Steps we have taken as a company to allow women to thrive in the workplace include being transparent about pay brackets, creating career pathways, enhanced paternity/maternity/parental leave policies and a salary benchmarking process to ensure we remain competitive in terms of pay.

“As a company we will continue to improve gender and ethnic diversity further and will be looking at analysing demographics and data to allow us to address any potential challenges or barriers.”

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