The gender pay gap in the UK will not close until 2069, according to research by financial services firm Deloitte. It said the findings were based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK's largest independent producer of official statistics.
Achieving this 53 years from now translates to 99 years from 1970, the year when the UK introduced The Equal Pay Act 1970. This was enacted to prohibit any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment.
Deloitte's report said that progress towards achieving pay parity has been slow. It said the hourly pay gap between full-time men and women employees was reducing by just £0.025 ($0.032) every year.
The report went on to say that women start off their careers earning lesser than their male peers. In nine out of 10 popular occupations for graduates, men were found to start their career with a higher average salary than women. However, in all 10 of these, the gender pay gap was found to increase over time.
Deloitte included a few industry specific examples in its report. In healthcare, it said the gap in starting salaries between men and women was £4,000 ($5,187), or 14%. This it said was despite more than 75% of healthcare graduates being women. In the teaching sector, it said the gap in starting salaries was £1,000 or 4%, according to The Guardian.
The only sector where there was no gap in starting salaries was administrative occupations. Here it said both the genders were paid an equal £17,000. However, here too, gaps were found to crop up with time.
While the average gender pay gap in the UK was found to be 9.4% for full-time employees, the report said the difference in starting salaries was much lesser between men and women who have studied science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and were working in a related field.
Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte went on to say that the gender pay gap could be reduced with giving importance to STEM. "If more women study STEM subjects and pursue related careers they will increase their earnings potential in the early years of their working lives and — should they remain in their careers — the later ones. This in turn should serve to reduce the gender pay gap," Codd was cited as saying by the Independent.