The UK continues to lag behind many comparable major economies for the scope and fairness of women’s employment, new research has shown.
According to a survey of 27 OECD member nations, the UK’s overall record on women’s participation in the labour market puts it 18th out of 27 nations. The latest index measured gender pay gap, women’s participation rate, unemployment rates and proportion of women in full-time, rather than part-time, employment.
While the UK has made progress in equalising earnings between men and women and getting more women into the workplace, the slow pace of change has seen it outstripped by other countries since 2000. The difference in pay has diminished from 26% in 2000 to 18% in 2012 in the UK – slightly worse than the OECD average differential of 16%.
The PwC Women in Work index ranks the UK far behind the Nordic countries, with Norway still leading the way, followed by Denmark and Sweden.
Yong Jing Teow, an economist at PwC, said: “It is encouraging that the UK is making gradual headway on closing the gender pay gap, but there is still a long way to go before we catch up with other countries and fully close this wage gap.
“It is disappointing that UK women’s pace of progress in the labour market has been relatively poor since 2000. If we want to see a meaningful change to women’s economic empowerment in the UK, we will have to speed up the rate of change, otherwise we risk falling further behind other high-income economies.”
While the proportion of women in the UK who work is above the OECD average, the percentage holding full-time jobs was lower than in all but two other countries.
The research indicated Europe’s economic crisis had particularly set back the advance of women in the workplace, with pay disparities and female unemployment rates increasing in Portugal, Spain and Greece in 2012, the most recent full year’s data, the most recent year for which figures are available.
Last week a separate European commission report calculated the pay gap between men and women at 16.4% across the EU, with the UK still one of the worst offenders despite having slightly narrowed its disparity to 19%.
Source: The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/02/women-employment-equality-pay-oecd-survey
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