Where is the progress towards equal pay for older women?

Despite being the generation to fight for the Equal Pay Act, pay equality is nowhere in sight for older women

Between April 2019 and April 2020, the UK’s average gender pay gap fell by 1.6%. However, the gender pay gap for older working adults across the country is yet to see the same progress.

Using data taken from a Gender Pay Gap in the UK: 2020 report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier this year, Rest Less has found that there is a 23% pay gap between full-time working men and women in their 50s, averaging £8,427 a year. When looking at over-60’s, this pay gap jumped to 25%.

Although the gender pay gap for full-time workers fell from 9% to 7.4% last year – just a fraction of the gap that over-sixties face – more must be done to achieve pay equality for older women.

The analysis also showed that women experience a steeper drop in their wages after 40 than men.  Women’s average salary in their 60s is 15% less than women in their 50s, which is also 9% lower than women in their 40s. For men, however, their median salary drops by just 5% between their 40s and 50s.

Sheila Flavell, COO, FDM Group said on the findings: “This new analysis highlights the harsh reality that is facing older women, with the retirement incomes of men and women still far from equal. Additionally, the drop in median earnings experienced by both men and women after their 40s will undoubtedly affect people’s retirement savings plans.

“Moving forward, it’s important that organisations help employees by providing support and initiatives that will allow workers to save effectively for retirement regardless of what stage they’re in of their career.”

Early last year, the Government equalled the state pension age to 66 for both genders, however, retirement isn’t equal. Decades of the gender pay gap means that there is a gender pension gap, too. In fact, on average men have £100,000 more than women in their pension pots.

Despite typically having the largest gender pay gap, there was a fall in the gender pay gap within the managers, directors, and senior officials occupation groups in 2020. FDM Group is an example of that continues Flavell: “It is essential to analyse the statistics from within and understand what prevents more women from progressing into senior roles. Once this is established, organisations can develop a strategy to increase women’s opportunity and continually support them on their career paths.

“FDM Group announced a median gender pay of -2.1% amidst the pandemic, which we are pleased about and will always strive to support women in their careers, with an understanding about the importance of future finance. It is important that companies follow suit and consider gender equality whilst building a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

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