Gender pay gap at its widest among women in their 50s

Women's salaries in this age bracket are 28 per cent lower than men’s

Sarah Young
Monday 28 October 2019 09:10 GMT
The gender pay gap explained

The gender pay gap is at its widest for women in their 50s, new research has revealed.

The analysis, which was conducted by Rest Less – a career and advice website for the over-50s – examined data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and revealed that women’s salaries in this age bracket are 28 per cent, or £12,509, lower than men’s.

The study also showed that women’s salaries decrease by eight per cent during their 50s while men’s drop by four per cent.

This discrepancy falls slightly over the next decade but continues at 27.6 per cent until retirement age.

Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said: “Our data shows that for women in their 50s, the chances of them earning an equal salary compared with their male peers is at its slimmest.

“Women in their 50s are facing an equality battle on multiple fronts in the workplace, firstly because of their gender and secondly because of their age.”

The analysis added that while both sexes reach their peak full-time salaries in their 40s, there is a vast gap between the two with women earning an average of £34,665 and men earning £46,213, a difference of £11,548 or 25 per cent.

The data also showed that the gap grows again over the next decade, with the average salary for a woman in her 50s working full-time being £32,052 compared with £44,561 for a man in his 50s, a difference of £12,509 or 28 per cent.

Overall, the ONS data shows that the gender pay gap does increase with age, as it stands at 18 per cent for 18 to 21-year-olds, 13 per cent for those in their 20s, 16 per cent for those in their 30s, 25 per cent for those in their 40s and reaches 28 per cent for people in their 50s.

“With such a tight labour market, and the wealth of talent and skills among women in their 50s and 60s, it is surprising not to see more employers actively seeking out this audience to help fill a very real skills gap,” Lewis added.

“Women in their 50s are facing a tough time in the workplace.”

According to recent government statistics, the number of women working in their 50s and 60s has increased by 75 per cent in the last 20 years, from 2.7m in 1999 to 4.8m today.

Meanwhile, the average age of retirement for women now is just a year below that of men.

Responding to the study, Dawn Butler, Labour shadow women’s and equalities secretary, said: “This study backs the need for urgent reform. The double discrimination faced by women in the workplace must end.

“There’s simply no place in the modern workplace for any form of discrimination.”

The findings follow BBC journalist Samira Ahmed becoming the first prominent female presenter to take the broadcaster to court over claims she was paid less than her male colleagues.

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The 51-year-old, who presents Radio 4 arts programme Front Row and Newswatch is accusing the corporation of “failure to provide equal pay for equal value work”.

Ahmed is sure to appear at a central London employment tribunal on Monday morning.

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