Women over 50 are paid almost £8,000 less a year than men in the UK. The findings are from an analysis by Rest Less, a community and job site for people over 50. The organisation examined data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The study reveals women in full-time jobs earned on average a little under £28,000. For men, the figure was nearly £34,000, meaning that men earned on average around 18% more than women. The pay gap grew even more prominent among the older population. Women in their 50s made around 23% less while women over 60 earned around 25% less. The average salaries for women over 60 stood at £23,903 compared to £31,667 for men.
Coronavirus job losses disproportionately affecting women
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed unemployment figures higher in the UK. These job losses have disproportionately affected women. The hardest-hit industries, such as retail and hospitality, tend to have higher numbers of women working in them. Big high street retailers such as Debenhams and Arcadia had a significant number of women working in full- and part-time roles, leaving many without a job after they both went under earlier this year.
Redundancies have been particularly hard for people in their 60s. In another analysis of ONS data, Rest Less found redundancies amongst those aged over 60 had quadrupled in the last quarter of 2020.
Women in their 50s and 60s also need to deal with age bias and inequality in future pension payments. Stuart Lewis, the founder of Rest Less, said that the changes to equalise the state pension have helped but not been enough. Women have suffered from decades of the gender pay gap, which has resulted in unequal private pension savings. All these factors make it crucial for women to plan their pension income. “We can no longer rely on bigger salaries in the years before we retire to fund our pensions, and instead need to consider the most efficient ways to save for retirement from an early age,” Lewis told the Guardian.
Progress in tackling the gender pay gap slow
The analysis shows progress to tackle the gender pay gap has remained low. Labour recently published its findings suggesting women in their mid-30s will never know equal pay in their working lives. The study came out on 20 November, marking Equal Pay Day in the UK. The day is the day women in effect stop receiving pay because of the pay disparities compared to men.