LABOUR SHADOW Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Sarah Champion MP, has called for the Government to tackle the underlying long term causes of the pay gap. She was speaking after the Resolution Foundation revealed that young women entering employment today can still expect to earn “significantly” less than young men starting work – even after years of legislation trying to tackle this basic inequality between the sexes.
Some of the key findings in the Resolution Foundation’s latest report on earnings are:
•Pay has been increasing – partly because inflation has been low. Pay growth is now stronger in the private sector than the public sector as the Government has frozen most public sector pay as part of their “austerity” policies.
•The rate at which workers move on from job to job is stagnant – meaning that workers are not improving their pay via promotions or taking higher grade jobs as they gain experience in their fields.
•Unemployment has fallen slightly, but long term unemployment has crept up.
•The number of people in work has increased, but the jobs which have taken people out of unemployment are not necessarily stable or full-time.
•Despite the increase in employment, productivity has not improved – so economic growth has been very modest. Training workers is one way of improving productivity – but training rates have been declining throughout this century.
•The number of graduates working in non-graduate jobs has increased since the start of the century but is now stabilising. A growth in graduate jobs (occupied by graduates) could increase productivity.
•The National Living Wage has helped close the pay gap between the highest and lowest paid workers.
However, it was the causes of the pay gap between men and women which Sarah Champion addressed. “Many women are still trapped in chronically low-paid, low progression sectors of the economy, while the cost of childcare has soared under the Tories,” she said. “Thousands of new mothers are forced out of their jobs each year due to maternity discrimination and the vast majority of tax and benefit changes have fallen on the shoulders of women.”
•For more information about the Resolution Foundation report, go to: