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17 February 2017

New briefing on the gender pay gap in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) has produced a briefing on the gender pay gap in Scotland. The briefing looks at data on pay by gender from this year’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) (ONS 2016a) produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Key points from the SPICE briefing are:  
  • When comparing median or typical pay for all employees men make more money than women. The pay gap for all employees in Scotland is 15.6 per cent compared to 18.1 per cent in the UK.
  • The gender pay gap in Scotland for full time employees is 6.2 per cent, lower than the UK overall at 9.4 per cent.  
  • Since 1997 the gender pay gap in Scotland for full-time employees has fallen from 18.4 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
  • Women are paid more than men for part-time work when comparing the median or typical pay.
  • When looking at median pay, women across most age groups are paid less than men. The pay gap increases for women over the age of 40. Between the ages of 30 and 39 women are paid more than men.
  • When looking at occupations, the largest pay gaps are found in skilled trades and management.
The briefing also suggests reasons for the differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
  • The top 10 per cent of earners in Scotland earn below the UK average for top earners. As the highest earners tend to be men this will contribute to the overall pay gap being lower. For example, London and the South East have the highest income for the top 10 per cent of earners and have the second and third highest pay gaps respectively.
  • Scotland has the second highest proportion of people who work in the public sector in the UK – as the pay gap in the private sector is higher than in the public sector the higher proportion of people working in the public sector will contribute to having a smaller pay gap.
You can read the full briefing here.

Meanwhile, in Common Space, Scotland’s digital news and views service, columnist Ben Simmons calls on those without the time to support the broader campaign for closing the gender pay gap to be open about what they earn.

“So what can we do if we are looking down through the glass ceiling? I think the simplest thing is to publish our salaries - tell your colleagues what you earn and encourage them to do the same. Some companies already publish salaries, so I would encourage us to ask our employers why this isn’t their policy.”

Sounds like a good idea to me!

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