Lies, damned lies

The Office for National Statistics reports the gender pay gap is at its narrowest since figures were first collected in 1997. In 2010, the ONS finds, full-time working women were paid 10.2 per cent less than their male counterparts, down two percentage points from last year.

It certainly sounds like a reason to be cheerful. But attentive readers will note that these figures jar with research by the Chartered Management Institute in August of this year, reported in an earlier post. The CMI research said that women would have to wait 57 years before they were paid the same as their male colleagues. Women in the UK, the report found, were paid just 79 per cent of male rates, while the EU average was 82 per cent.

And the ONS does go on to report: “The gender pay gap for all employees has decreased to 19.8 per cent from 22 per cent in 2009.”

I was about to fire off an e-mail to Channel 4 journalist Cathy Newman’s FactCheck blog when I tripped over a further sentence in the ONS report that disambiguated the findings: “Calculated using the mean rather than the median, women’s hourly pay was 15.5 per cent less than men’s pay for full-time employees, 11.7 per cent less than men’s pay for part-time employees and 19.3 per cent less for all employees.”

So, while the news is good in part, unfortunately it is not the whole story, where the picture remains rather less rosy.

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