A recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey shows that the gender pay gap in Scotland has fallen to its lowest on record, but government officials and equal pay advocates say there is more to be done.
The ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings revealed that the gender pay gap has fallen to 1.7 per cent among full-time employees and 8.7 per cent among all employees this year.
These percentages follow a longer-term downward trend for the gender pay gap in Scotland, which has had a lower gender pay gap than the UK as a whole since 2003.
Contributing to this closing of the gender pay gap is an increase in women’s earnings.
Women working full-time saw a 10.6 per cent increase in weekly earnings this year, compared to a 7.9 per cent increase for men.
The Fair Work Secretary Neil Gray, whilst welcoming these statistics, said there is still work to be done.
Gray said: “While employment law is reserved to the UK Government, the Scottish Government is committed to improving workers’ rights and conditions through our Fair Work approach and encourages all employers to take action to tackle gender pay gaps in Scotland.”
Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, a women’s equality advocacy group, highlighted that the work already being done to alleviate the gender pay gap “isn’t good enough.”
The Fawcett Society leads an annual awareness campaign called Equal Pay Day which uses gender pay gap data to calculate the day after which “women overall in the UK stop being paid compared to men.”
Olchawski suggests prioritising flexible work to help bridge the gap.
She said: “A lack of genuinely flexible, quality work traps women in roles below their capabilities and encourages the notion that flexible work is a privilege, not an essential part of a modern economy. This is a big reason we have a persistent gender pay gap which harms women and our economy.”
The ONS survey was released just a few weeks before this year’s Equal Pay Day, which will fall on Wednesday, 22 November.
Image via Rayna Carruthers.