Gender pay gap widens slightly in West Lothian while in the Falkirk Council area woman working full time continue to out-earn men

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Women working full-time continue to out-earn men in the Falkirk Council area, while in West Lothian men earn more, with the gap widening, figures reveal.

It now stands at 6.3 per cent hourly, compared to 5.1 per cent in 2018, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.

The Fawcett Society's chief executive Sam Smethers.

The Fawcett Society's chief executive Sam Smethers.

They reveal West Lothian women take home an average annual salary of £26,432 – £5,062 less than the average man’s salary of £31,494.

While in Falkirk, the gender pay gap now stands at 0.4 per cent hourly, compared to 1.2 per cent in 2018. However, women still take home an average annual salary of £28,801 – £1,462 less than the average man’s salary of £30,263.

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

Across the UK, male workers in full-time jobs now earn 8.9 per cent more than their female counterparts, a slight rise from 8.6 per cent last year, the first increase in six years.

But ONS statistician Roger Smith said the national increase was not “statistically significant”, adding it is too early to say if it marks a change in trend.

“We also saw an increase in 2013 followed by a return to downward trend in subsequent years,” he added.

“However, the downward trend is a slow one regardless.”

For people aged under 40, the wage gap for full-time employees is now “close to zero”, the ONS said. Yet it widens among 40 to 49-year-olds to 11.4 per cent, stretching to more than 15 per cent among 50 to 59-year-olds and those over 60 – a difference that is “not declining strongly over time”. The ONS attributes this to older women being “more likely” to work in lower-paid jobs than younger ones, and less likely to fill managerial roles.

In West Lothian, the difference in pay between male and female workers, including those in part-time jobs, increased from 11.8 per cent in 2018 to 12.5 per cent this year.

This divide can partly be explained by the number of women working part-time. An estimated 14,000 women in West Lothian were in part-time work last year, around 37 per cent of the female workforce. But of the 36,000 working men, too few were in part-time work for the ONS to provide an estimate.

In Falkirk, the difference in pay between male and female workers, including those in part-time jobs, decreased from 9.7 per cent in 2018 to 3.8 per cent this year. An estimated 14,000 women in Falkirk were in part-time work last year, around 40 per cent of the female workforce. Again, of the 28,000 working men, too few were in part-time work for an estimate.

Nationally, the average gender pay gap is 17.3 per cent across all work patterns.

Gender equality charity the Fawcett Society called progress on closing the gender pay gap “dismally slow”, adding it would take 60 years to accomplish at the current rate.

Sam Smethers, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Too many women are trapped in low paid part-time work or locked out of non-traditional sectors while others experience pay or pregnancy discrimination.”

Equality and Human Rights Commission chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath added: “As we enter the third year of reporting, the attention really needs to shift to action. It should be mandatory for employers to publish, alongside their pay gap data, plans with specific targets and deadlines.”