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Gender pay gap prevails in two-thirds of female-dominated professions

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Occupations with widest gender pay gaps revealed

Two-thirds (65%) of female-dominated professions (where over 60% of workers are women) have gender pay gaps in favour of men. This is according to a new report from HR systems provider Ciphr. The report went on to reveal that only 2% have no reported pay gaps, while a third have gender pay gaps in favour of women.

Popular career choices – in that they have the largest numbers of workers -are the most likely to have pay disparities. The report showed that in the UK, gender pay gaps in favour of men exist in:

  • 72% of female-dominated occupations employing over 100,000 people
  • 82 % of female-dominated occupations employing over 330,000 people

The occupations with the largest gender pay gaps and workforces of over 100,000 include:

  • functional managers and directors with an average pay gap of 21.3%
  • legal associate professionals with an average pay gap of 16.8%.
  • office managers with an average pay gap of 12.5%
  • local government administrative occupations with an average pay gap of 12.1%
  • other administrative occupations (including numerous administrative and clerical roles) have an average pay gap of 8.9%

The report went on to reveal that approximately two-thirds of the UK’s human resource managers and directors, bookkeepers, payroll managers, wages clerks, and records clerks and assistants are women. However, all these job roles have a gender pay gap of nearly 7% in favour of men.

Further insights showed that 89 – 90% of receptionists and teaching assistants in the UK are women, and both of these careers have a gender pay gap of 5.1% in favour of men.

Other female-dominated occupations with pay gaps over 5% (and workforces of less than 100,000) include:

  • PR professionals
  • cleaning and housekeeping managers and supervisors
  • bank and post office clerks
  • specialist nurses
  • project support officers

According to Ciphr’s report, the top 10 most popular female-dominated jobs in the UK (and their gender pay gaps), ranked by the number of people employed, are:

  • Other nursing professionals – including nurses: 814,000 employees (0.2% gender pay gap)
  • Sales and retail assistants: 737,400 employees (2.8%)
  • Care workers and home carers: 731,100 employees (-1.0%)
  • Other administrative occupations – including admin and clerical assistants: 576,500 employees (8.9%)
  • Kitchen and catering assistants: 443,000 employees (-1.1%)
  • Nursing auxiliaries and assistants: 438,600 employees (1.4%)
  • Bookkeepers, payroll managers, and wages clerks: 401,100 employees (6.5%)
  • Primary education teaching professionals: 368,500 employees (0.6%)
  • Teaching assistants: 349,100 employees (5.1%)
  • Secondary education teaching professionals: 347,900 (2.3%)

Occupations with more balanced workforces, such as leisure, travel, and related personal service occupations, also have significant pay gaps (11%). This is the fifth biggest pay gap in the UK.

Six out of seven female-dominated occupational groups have pay gaps of over 2% in favour of men. The only exception is secretarial and related occupations at -6.6%.

It is important to note that 2.4 million employees in the UK – 600,000 of which are men – work in female-dominated occupations where a negative gender pay gap of -1% or more exists. These roles include care workers, waiting staff, financial administrative occupations, community nurses, midwives, PAs, medical secretaries, and special needs education teaching professionals.

The female-dominated occupations with the narrowest pay gaps (between 0.9% and -0.9%) include primary school teachers, nurses, welfare and housing associate professionals, and HR officers.

The only female-dominated jobs with no reported pay gap for 2022 are retail cashiers and checkout operators.

Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at Ciphr commented: “The latest gender pay gap reports are disappointing, to say the least, especially given the ever-increasing spotlight on inclusive policies and initiatives and pressure for employers to close the gap.

 “Far more needs to be done, and quickly, to hold employers accountable. More robust gender pay gap reporting, an overhaul of the childcare support available to working parents, making flexible working the norm, and an introduction of measures to minimise the disproportionate impact of the cost-of-living crisis on women in particular. And, of course, better representation of women and ethnic minorities at all levels, in all roles, is vital to driving change in an organisation. It’s also the best way of attracting and retaining the best employees.”


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