Women in their fifties face £7,000 pay gap

Older women workers face the highest gender pay gap in the country with those aged more than 50 paid on average £7,000 less than their male counterparts.

Research being published today reveals a 24 per cent difference between the median gross annual pay of full-time working men and women aged in their fifties. That gap rose to 26 per cent for women workers aged older than 60.

A survey for Rest Less, an organisation that provides work advice to the over-50s, found that women aged between 50 and 59 earned an average salary of £30,603. That was £7,274 less than men in the same age group.

The research team compared this year’s data with the previous ten years and found that while the national gender pay gap across all ages had narrowed from 24 per cent in 2012 to 19 per cent this year, it remained at its highest for those in their fifties and sixties.

The organisation attributed much of the gender pay gap for older women to the burden of caring responsibilities, which primarily still fall on women.

“Women can miss out on salary progression during their careers, which compounds as time goes on, widening the gender pay gap as we age,” Stuart Lewis, the chief executive of Rest Less, said. He added that the gender pay gap for older workers “can have devastating long-term consequences on women’s retirement provision and financial independence into later life”.

Lewis pointed to a “significant private pension savings gap between men and women”, saying it was “no surprise when you see decades of the gender pay gap only getting worse in the run-up to retirement, a time in life when people are typically trying to save as much as they possibly can into their pensions”.

The state pension age for men and women has been unified at 66; but Lewis said that the “retirement fortunes of men and women remain anything but equal”.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the gender pay gap in the UK among full-time employees hit 8.3 per cent this year, up from 7.7 per cent last year. It said: “There remains a large difference in the gender pay gap between employees aged over 40 and those aged below 40.”

The gender pay gap is calculated as the difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women as a proportion of men’s average hourly earnings.

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Women in their fifties face £7,000 pay gap