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Gender pay gap exposed in Shropshire

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | News | Published:

Women in the county have effectively been going without pay for more than four months of the year due to the gender pay gap, figures have revealed.

Recently, all companies with 250 or more staff were required to report their gender pay figures, with more than three-quarters of companies nationally showing a gap in pay favouring male employees.

In Shropshire women effectively went without pay for nearly five months, women in Telford & Wrekin for four months, and in Powys for just under under four months.

For Shropshire, Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that women in work earned an average annual salary of £15,466 in 2018 – 42 per cent lower than the average man’s salary of £26,649.

It means that, in effect, women in Shropshire worked for free from July 31 last year.

In Telford & Wrekin the average annual salary was £16,520 – 39 per cent lower than the average man’s salary of £27,196.

That means Telford and Wrekin effectively worked for free from August 10 last year.

Powys' annual salary was £16,491 – 34 per cent lower than the male salary of £24,812 – leaving women in Powys effectively working for free from August 31 last year.

The average pay figures are calculated using a median, rather than mean, average, to stop them being skewed by particularly small or large pay packets.

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The difference in Shropshire pay can partly be explained by the number of women in part-time work. An estimated 26,000 women in the area were in part-time work last year, around 53 per cent of the female workforce.

Of the 53,000 working men, 8,000 (15 per cent) were in part-time work.

Despite that, the difference in pay was still evident in full-time roles: men in Shropshire earned an average of £29,314 last year, and women £25,618 – 13 per cent less.

In Telford & Wrekin an estimated 17,000 women were in part-time work last year, amounting to around 46 per cent of the female workforce.

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Of the 29,000 working men, too few were in part-time work for the ONS to provide an estimate.

Pressure

Again the difference in pay was still evident in full-time roles, where men in Telford and Wrekin earned an average of £29,839 last year, and women £22,768 – 24 per cent less.

Across the UK, the average gender pay gap was 36 per cent across all roles and 18 per cent for full-time.

The recent deadline for large companies to report their gender pay gap saw some high-profile companies demonstrate large gaps, including the airline Ryanair (64.4 per cent), the health provider Intrahealth (57.4 per cent) and Sheffield United football club (48.2 per cent).

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Big employers clearly aren't doing enough to tackle the root causes of pay inequality and working women are paying the price.

"Government needs to crank up the pressure. Companies shouldn't just be made to publish their gender pay gaps, they should be legally required to explain how they'll close them, and bosses who flout the law should be fined."

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said businesses cannot close the gap by themselves, adding: "Many of the causes lie outside the workplace including a lack of affordable, high-quality childcare and better careers advice.

"Companies and the Government working together remains the best way to deliver the long-term, lasting change that's needed."

Minister for women and equalities, Penny Mordaunt, said: "Actions to tackle the gender pay gap are good for business. That's why we have produced support to help employers close their gaps.

"We recognise that in order to close the gap entirely we still need a much wider cultural change, that is why we have introduced a range of initiatives to tackle the drivers of the gap, including shared parental leave and spending around £6 billion on childcare support."

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