Mind the gap! Call for better flexible work options to close gender pay gap
To mark this year’s Equal Pay Day, the Fawcett Society is calling for flexible working to be made the norm, so that women can access higher-skilled, better paid jobs.
According to the charity, currently, flexible roles tend to be lower-paid and lower-quality e.g. part time, insecure work and zero-hours contracts.
Women who need to balance work with caring responsibilities are taking these jobs regardless of their capabilities and this is resulting in a significant gender pay gap.
What is Equal Pay Day?
Today (22 November 2023) is Equal Pay Day. Because of the gender pay gap in the UK, women will effectively work the rest of the year for free compared to men.
On average, working women take home £574 less than men each month. This is equivalent to £6,888 a year.
More gender pay gap stats
- At the current rate of change, it will take another 28 years for the gender pay gap to close in the UK. That means we’ll be waiting until 2051.
- Women aged 40 and above (those born before 1983) will reach state pension age before the gender pay gap closes.
Better flexible working options
- 40% of women who are currently out of work said better flexible working options would allow them to take on paid work. 32% of men said the same.
- Men are more likely to have access to the most desirable forms of flexible working e.g. working term time only (21%), job share (18%), working a set number of hours flexibly across the year (15%), and working to commissioned outcomes (10%).
- 77% of women said they would be more likely to apply for a job that offered good flexible working options.
Time for a change
Jemima Olchawski, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said:
“We see time and time again that women feel they have no choice but to accept lower-paid, lower-quality work in exchange for flexibility, and this isn’t fair.
“A need for flexible working arrangements, whether it be due to caring responsibilities, disability, or simply a desire to rebalance work and life, should not mean the end of career progression.
“Women are being kept in lower-quality jobs due to old-fashioned workplace norms.”
A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.
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