Women close pay gap but earnings lose ground to inflation

The pay gap between male and female workers has fallen below 10 per cent for the first time, according to official figures.

The difference between men's and women's median hourly pay, excluding overtime, fell from 10.5 per cent to 9.6 per cent during the year to April 2012, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

But both sexes were worse off in real terms as wage packets rose by just half the rate of inflation over the last year.

In April 2012 average gross weekly earnings for full-time employees were £506, up just 1.5 per cent from £498 in 2011. This took the average full-time wage to £26,500.

It left workers nursing real-terms pay cuts as the official Consumer Prices Index benchmark stood at 3 per cent in April.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder of online freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour, said: "Women may be starting to win the battle of the sexes, but the workforce as a whole is losing the battle with inflation. Wage increases are not keeping pace with the rising cost of living."

However, the figures revealed a narrowing in the gap between the highest and lowest-paid employees. In the year to April, the basic hourly earnings excluding overtime of the most well paid 10 per cent of full-timers fell by 0.2 per cent, whereas those in the bottom 10 per cent saw an increase of 2.3 per cent.

London came top of the pay table with average weekly earnings of £653, rising to £917 in the City. This was more than double the £453 a week picked up by full-time workers in Wales, the lowest-paid region.

The figures also showed that the average, part-time hourly wage increased by just 1p to £8.01 over the past year.

Around one in five part-time workers earned £6.30 an hour or less, compared with the national minimum wage of £6.19 an hour, while two out of five earned less than the so-called living wage of £7.45.

More than one in 100 workers is paid less than the minimum wage with 287,000 jobs paying less than the legal benchmark, according to the ONS.

Young people were more likely to be paid less than the minimum wage than older workers, with 18,000 16 and 17-year-olds, or 6.5 per cent, paid less than £3.68 an hour.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy