The gender pay gap is a complicated issue with many complexities surrounding gender and the types of roles an individual accepts.

This month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shone a light on gender pay with figures showing how a variety of roles and hours can affect pay packet disparity.

Across all sectors, men are paid on average 18.1% more than women. This is the narrowest the gap since 1997 when the ONS started collecting this data but this figure varies over both sector and level of hierarchy.  

Crossing the construction chasm.

The disparity between the rates of pay in the construction sector is one of the widest, especially at management level where men earn on average 45% more. Even in non-managerial roles, the gap still sits at 23%, which is approximately 5% higher than the UK average. 

The roles we most often see this in are assemblers of vehicles and metal goods as well as metal forming, welding and other trades. In these jobs, men earn over a third more than women.

Across all sectors, men are paid on average 18.1% more than women

Gender stereotypes.  

The ONS suggest that reasons for pay inequality may include that women tend to work in lower paid roles and sectors as well as more part-time hours. The gap closes when you look only at full time hours as part time roles tend to be lower paying. 

Reasons for this may be down to traditional gender roles that are still pervasive today for some women, such as motherhood and home duties. 

The ONS suggest that women may be less represented in authority positions due to “stereotypical attitudes about gender roles, lack of flexible working or women taking time to look after families.”

Levelling the site.

The disproportionate levels of pay in the construction sector may be due to the belief construction is a male orientated industry and there is less support available for women who have children and home responsibilities to maintain a career. 

Fighting pay inequality in the sector may come down to providing the opportunity of longer maternity leave and flexibility of hours for those with families.