MEN who have children earn almost a fifth more than their childless counterparts by the age of 40, according to a study.
Centre-left think-tank IPPR said the “fatherhood pay bonus” had increased in recent decades but that women who gave birth at an early age were tending to end up worse off than before.
Researchers compared the fortunes of men and women born in 1958 and 1970 in a project to assess the impact of feminism on work life in the UK.
They found that the younger cohort of mothers suffered less of an earnings gap than their own mothers’ generation by the time they reached 40 – 11 per cent down instead of 14 per cent.
There was also less of a gap between their pay and that of fathers the same age, which narrowed from 32 per cent to 26 per cent.
But the think-tank was surprised to discover the extra earnings fatherhood appeared to help generate – 16 per cent more for those born in 1958 and 19 per cent for the 1970 generation.
Potential explanations were that the incentive of being the breadwinner for a family pushed them to work harder.
According to the research, the women born in 1970 who had children by age 24 were likely to earn 20 per cent less than those without children – a rise from 17 per cent. For those who gave birth later the gap shrank from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.
IPPR associate director Dalia Ben-Galim said: “Women have made lots of progress.
“Female employment soared in the 1980s, since the mid-1990s, girls have outperformed boys at school… and in the last decade the gender pay gap between men and women in their 20s has almost disappeared.
“But discussions about gender and pay are often divorced from the wider context that drives female disadvantage in wages, which is closely associated with their primary responsibility for care, particularly childcare.”