Graphs on this page:
- For men, the earnings of both the low-paid and the high-paid have risen at the same proportional rate as average full-time male earnings throughout the last decade.
- For women, the earnings of both the low-paid and the high-paid have risen at a slightly greater rate than average full-time male earnings.
- The net results of this are:
- For each of men and women, inequalities in earnings between the top and the bottom are unchanged over the decade.
- Although there is still a gap between low-paid male and low-paid female earnings for full-time employees, this gap has narrowed over the last decade.
- Low-paid women are paid around 10% less than low-paid men. High-paid women are paid around 20% less than high-paid men.
- A half of all part-time workers – both men and women – were paid less than £8 per hour in 2010. While women predominate in part-time employment, the equality in the low-pay risks here suggests that the fundamental problem is the lowly status of part-time work per se, rather than any disadvantage that part-time female employees face relative to part-time male ones.
- By contrast, the proportion of full-time female employees paid less than £8 an hour in 2010 was, at 21%, markedly higher than the 15% of full-time male employees. Thus, while there are as many low-paid full-time men as there are low-paid full-time women (see the indicator on trends in low pay), the difference in these low-pay risks suggests that the fundamental problem here remains one of the disadvantages faced by full-time female employees compared with full-time male ones.
- Pay inequalities for full-time employees are greater in London, the South East and East than elsewhere, with the differences being particularly great in inner London.
Why this indicator was originally chosen
In monitoring trends in low pay, its relationship with both average and high pay is also relevant.
Definitions and data sources
The first graph focuses on pay differentials. It shows four statistics:
- Gross hourly pay of full-time male employees at the 10th percentile, i.e. the pay of men one tenth of the way from the bottom of the full-time male pay distribution.
- Gross hourly pay of full-time female employees at the 10th percentile, i.e. the pay of women one tenth of the way from the bottom of the full-time female pay distribution.
- Gross hourly pay of full-time male employees at the 90th percentile, i.e. the pay of men one tenth of the way from the top of the full-time male pay distribution.
- Gross hourly pay of full-time female employees at the 90th percentile, i.e. the pay of women one tenth of the way from the top of the full-time female pay distribution.
In each case, the statistics are shown as a proportion of average (median) hourly pay of full-time male employees thus providing a measure of earnings inequalities. The left-hand axis shows proportions at the 10th percentile and the right hand axis shows the proportion at the 90th percentile. The restriction to full-time employees only is to avoid the distorting effects of differences in the full-/part-time balance either by gender or over time.
The second graph shows, for the latest year, the distribution of employees across the pay spectrum with the data show separately for part-time women, part-time men, full-time women and full-time men.
The third graph shows, for the latest year, how the ratio for full-time employees between the hourly earnings at the 90th percentile and the hourly earnings at the 10th percentile varies by region.
The data source for all the graphs is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and the data relates to the United Kingdom. Some detailed changes were made to the ASHE survey base in 2004 and an adjustment has been made for this in the first graph. The proportions in the second graph have been calculated from the hourly rates at each decile using interpolation to estimate the consequent proportion earning in each of the pay groups.
Overall adequacy of the indicator: high. ASHE is a large annual survey of employers.
- See the London School of Economics 2005 report entitled Pay inequalities and economic performance.
- For a discussion of gender inequalities in pay, see the report for the Equal Opportunities Commission entitled Undervaluing women’s work (2007), the London School of Economics paper entitled The gender gap in early career wage growth (2005), and the reports for the Women and Equality Unit entitled The part-time pay penalty (2005) and The impact of women’s position in the labour market on pay and the implications and the implications for UK productivity.
Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements
None directly relevant.
|Year||As a percentage of full-time male median earnings|
|10th Percentile||90th Percentile||10th Percentile||90th Percentile|
|< £8 per hour||15%||52%||21%||49%|
|£8 to £12 per hour||28%||21%||31%||26%|
|£12+ per hour||57%||27%||49%||24%|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||343%|