The Gender pay gap is at the narrowest level on record, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data revealed that the gender pay gap had shrunk to the lowest level in nearly two decades last year, with figures falling below 17.4 percent in 1997 and 9.6 percent in the previous year.
However, according to TUC Union analysis, if pay levels continue to grow at this rate it will take decades for women to reach parity with men. According to the data, women still continue to earn around 9.4 percent less than men in UK wide statistics.
“We need a labour market that works better for women,” general secretary Frances O’Grady commented.
“This means helping mums get back into well-paid jobs after they have kids, and encouraging dads to take on more caring responsibilities.”
“The Government should also scrap tribunal fees, which stop women getting justice from bad employers who have discriminated against them,” she added.
Scotland’s gap showed an even greater improvement, the difference between the median hourly earnings of men and women for full-time work fell from 7.7 percent in 2015 to 6.2 percent. Scotland had the third highest total weekly full-time earnings for women (£482.60) after London (£609.50) and the south east of England (£497.80).
Overall, wages in the UK increased by 2.2 percent last year to £539 a week, from £527 in 2015, the largest since the financial crash. Those in lower-paid employment saw their pay increase the most substantially, by 6.2 percent compared to 2.5 percent for the highest 5 percent. This growth was attributed to the introduction of the new national minimum wage for those over 25 of £7.20 in April 2016, as well as lower levels of inflation.
CBI lobbying group said that the figures confirmed a “picture of low but robust wage growth across the UK economy before the EU referendum”. Additionally Director of People and Skills, Neil Carberry, commented:
“It’s clear that the introduction of the national living wage has supported lower earners’ incomes, building on several years of higher than average increases in the old national minimum wage.”