Gender Pay Gap: 2018 Briefing



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  • The official calculation for the 2018 gender pay gap is at a record low of 8.6% for full-time workers, with a negligible gender pay gap for women aged 22-39. This gap increases later in life, with evidence from the United States that the bulk of the pay gap is a result of time taken off to raise children.

  • Calculations that put the pay gap above 8.6% are achieved by moving further away from like for like comparisons between typical men and women in the workplace. The Equal Pay Day campaign relies on a figure 5.1 percentage points higher (or nearly 60% greater) than the official figures by using the mean rather than the median of the Office for National Statistics data, thereby giving more weight to the highest earners.

  • Furthermore, claims that it will take more than 50 years to close the gender pay gap use an even higher starting point, assume a slower rate of progress than has recently been achieved, and fail to take account of likely changes as different cohorts move through the age distribution.

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Julian Jessop is an independent economist with over thirty years of experience gained in the public sector, City and consultancy, including senior positions at HM Treasury, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Capital Economics. He was Chief Economist and Head of the Brexit Unit at the IEA until December 2018 and continues to support our work, especially schools outreach, on a pro bono basis.

Kate is Associate Director of the IEA. Kate oversees the IEA’s Media Centre and digital platforms, creating and commissioning content for the website, social media, and ieaTV. Kate regularly features across the national media, including appearances on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and BBC’s Question Time.