Gender pay gap kicks in by late 20s

There is very little difference between the wages of men and women when they enter the workplace. However, by the time people are in their late 20s and early 30s, the gender pay gap kicks in.

This is the point when women’s pay progression tends to plateau, while men’s pay continues to climb steadily higher.

The research, published by the Government Equalities Office shows that men in low paid jobs ‘springboard’ into higher paid ones, whereas women are more likely to remain stuck in those jobs. This gap has worsened over time, according to the report.

One of the barriers to women’s progression in the workplace is that the processes that lead to promotion can be biased and disadvantage women, according to the report.

The report: Improving Women’s Progression in the Workplace, says that organisations which have standardised and transparent criteria for career progression are more likely to lead to improved outcomes for women.

By contrast, progression which relies on networking (often not possible for women who also have caring responsibilities) is less likely to work for women. The report also says there is currently a lack of evidence to show that training to overcome unconscious bias has a long-term impact on behaviour and attitude.

The report comes at a time when BBC presenter Samira Ahmed is taking the broadcaster to an employment tribunal over claims that she is paid less than male colleagues for doing the same work.

According to court listings, Ahmed’s case is due to be heard over five days from next Monday, and the tribunal will hear an allegation that the BBC failed to provide equal pay for equal value work, under the Equal Pay Act.

Ahmed is not the first high-profile woman to claim the BBC is not paying women the same as men for doing equivalent work. Carrie Gracie previously resigned from her role as China editor in a dispute over equal pay. The BBC apologised for underpaying her, and gave her back pay, which Gracie donated to the Fawcett Society.

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