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Women in their 20s earn more than men of same age, study finds

Women in their 20s earn more than men of same age, study finds

When aged 22-29, women earn an average of £1,111 more than men – but the roles are reversed with a vengeance once 30 is hit

Press Association

Fri 28 Aug 2015 19.01 EDT

Women in their 20s have reversed the gender pay gap, but their earning power is still overtaken by men later in life.

Figures compiled by the Press Association have shown that between the ages of 22 and 29, a woman will typically earn £1,111 more per annum than her male counterparts.

Using data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), PA analysed the comparative earnings of men and women between 2006 and 2013. Statistics for 2014 have yet to be verified and were excluded.

While younger women in their 20s came out top in the earning stakes, the story was vastly different for workers in their 30s. A man turning 30 in 2006 would have brought in on average £8,775 more than a woman of the same age.

Ann Pickering, HR director at telecoms company O2, said the research highlighted that there is still a long wayto go before genuine parity between women and men is achieved. “While women are earning slightly more than men in their 20s, they are still overtaken by men later in life – and the reason is simple. Women are playing catchup when it comes to reaching senior well-paid positions,” she said. “If women are not in the same roles as men, how can they be on the same wage?

“The slight salary imbalance in favour of women early on in their careers is particularly interesting, and makes that drop-off point in women’s careers and salaries all the more stark.”

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, suggested more senior roles would go to women if they were offered on a part-time, or job-share, basis.

“Unless there is good reason not to do so, that should be a company’s default thinking,” she said. “Sadly, the opposite is true: once you get to a certain level, it’s a full-time role, which excludes many women from roles they would be perfectly capable of doing.”

The study also found that the income of teenage female workers had plummeted in the downturn, falling 33 times faster than that of their male counterparts.

Young workers hit hardest by wages slump of post-crash Britain

The average full-time salary for 16- to 17-year-old females fell from £9,750 in 2006 to just £7,176 in 2013. Over the same period, 16- to 17-year-old males saw their income dip marginally from £8,639 to £8,561. It

means young women’s salaries fell by more than a quarter (26.4%) over an eight-year period, compared with a drop of only 1% for young men.

Smethers described the decline in income as a worrying trend. “Women have been suffering [from the economic downturn] more than men because they had even less job security,” she said. “They were more at risk and thus worse hit when the recession struck.”

She suggested more needed to be done to persuade young women to take up apprentices in better-paying industries. “Women are steered into roles like caring, beauticians and so on. These are poorly paid roles. We need to do more to steer women into non-traditional roles, or at least make it clear to them what these pay,” she said.

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