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Number of women in work in Britain hits record high – but figures show the gender pay gap is growing too

Extra ladies are in work than ever earlier than as official figures present a record-breaking 14 million now have jobs. The feminine employment price reached 67.2 per cent final 12 months, the best for the reason that Workplace for Nationwide Statistics’ information started.

Nevertheless, specialists cautioned at the moment that this rise had coincided with a rise within the gender pay hole, as median wages for girls fell. The rise was additionally largely created by extra ladies declaring themselves self-employed, which may imply many pocketing paltry sums far under the minimal wage.

Total, 193,000 extra women and men received jobs between October and December 2013, taking the overall quantity in work to 30.15 million folks. British employees made up virtually 9 tenths of the employment rise.

Diane Elson, Chair of the UK Ladies’s Funds Group, which analyses how ladies fare within the labour market, advised The Unbiased: “Whereas it’s good to see ladies’s employment price rising, we’ve to have a look at the standard of employment. There are two issues within the newest statistics that the Authorities shouldn’t be highlighting: median wages and self-employment.”


The median weekly earnings for males rose from £502 to £508 over the past 12 months, however for girls they fell from £413 to £411. This implies the gender pay hole has now risen from £89 to £97 kilos every week.

A lot of the rise in employment amongst ladies was right down to extra declaring themselves self-employed. Professor Elson believes that this class may conceal massive numbers placing in very lengthy hours for little monetary return.

The variety of ladies registered as self-employed went up 5.three per cent between the final quarter of 2012 and the identical interval final 12 months, to 1.357 million. Amongst males, self-employment rose by solely 2.eight per cent.

Lengthy-term unemployment, which frequently stays stubbornly excessive, fell by 45,000 within the three months to December 2013. Job vacancies have been additionally up, rising by 28,000 to 580,000 within the final quarter.

Employment Minister Esther McVey mentioned: “With employment persevering with to extend, it’s clear that the Authorities’s long-term plan to construct a stronger, safer economic system helps companies create jobs and get folks into work.

“Report numbers of ladies are in work and youth unemployment continues to fall, which implies extra folks have the safety of a daily wage and may plan for his or her future.”

The variety of younger folks in work elevated by 49,000, with these claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance falling for the final 20 months. Nevertheless Rachel Reeves MP, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, mentioned unemployment amongst younger folks was nonetheless worryingly excessive.

“Whereas at the moment’s fall in general unemployment is welcome, the Authorities should not be complacent”, she mentioned. “Greater than 900,000 younger individuals are nonetheless unemployed and over 250,000 younger folks have been unemployed for over a 12 months. As we speak‘s figures additionally present working folks going through a cost-of-living disaster are over £1,600-a-year worse off since David Cameron’s grew to become Prime Minister.”

Though unemployment fell by 125,000 within the final quarter, there have been indications that enhancements to the labour market have been slowing. The unemployment price elevated from 7.1 to 7.2 per cent between the penultimate and final quarter of the 12 months.

TUC Basic Secretary Frances O’Grady mentioned: “These are encouraging figures for the hundreds of thousands of individuals determined for work…However folks already in work have much less to cheer about with costs nonetheless rising twice as quick as wages. Whereas we’ve a file proportion of ladies in employment the widening gender pay hole means many ladies aren’t getting the truthful pay they deserve.”

Case research: The graduate, again on monitor


Chloë Wright, 27,  from Ironbridge Gorge  in Shropshire, mentioned:

“After graduating from college [Aberystwyth] in 2008 I had a string of part-time jobs to make up a full-time wage. One in every of my employers, a champagne firm, then took me on full time.

However after about 18 months the corporate closed and I used to be made redundant. I wasn’t entitled to jobseeker’s  allowance as a result of I used to be residing with my companion, who had additionally simply been made redundant. I began cleansing homes for associates to earn sufficient cash to pay my hire.

I used to be unemployed for about 4 months once I managed to get a part-time job doing advertising for a resort that had seen a few of my earlier work.

I lastly received a full-time job as a advertising government at an IT firm via an company. It felt nice to get again into full-time work. It was an enormous aid and it’s  good to have my profession again on monitor.”

Case research: The breadwinner – ‘I deal with him rather a lot’


Helen Cox, 39, is a programme supervisor on the BBC. She lives in Clacton-On-Sea together with her companion.

“My companion works advert hoc as a landlord, however principally he’s renovating the home that we purchased. I earn about £45,000 a 12 months greater than he does. We’ve been collectively simply over three years.

I used to be incomes greater than him once we first met. He was completely satisfied we had the chance to pool our assets: his abilities and my revenue, so it hasn’t actually been a difficulty, aside from once I wish to spend some huge cash on a vacation!

We’ve sort of adjusted to the distinction in earnings. He is aware of what my means are and I do know what his expectations are. I’ll purchase all of the theatre tickets, for instance, and that’s simply sort of accepted. I deal with him rather a lot. If I decide like having natural greens, I’ll purchase them.

I don’t actually see myself as supporting him. He’s working laborious on the home and he has sufficient cash to assist himself. We do have a joint checking account however we simply put cash for the payments and the mortgage in that, it’s not the place the purchasing or going out cash goes. We each have separate financial institution accounts too. I feel it’s essential to maintain these issues separate.

I feel extra ladies have gotten the breadwinners and I’ve additionally received a number of associates whose companions are taking over the alternative function of homemaker. They’re staying at residence and elevating the youngsters as a result of the ladies are incomes extra so it makes extra monetary sense for them to return to work.”


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