Report finds Scots women over 40 face widening pay gap

For every £1 a man makes in Scotland a woman will earn 85 pence.
Despite progress there is still a significant gender pay gap.Despite progress there is still a significant gender pay gap.
Despite progress there is still a significant gender pay gap.

A woman’s pay will “significantly” fall away once she hits 40 due to the “motherhood penalty” and that professional woman are still paid 20 per cent lower than their male counterparts, a new report said.

The 2016 briefing by the Scottish Parliament found a woman’s mean hourly pay was now 14.8 per cent lower than a man’s.

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The gap widened by 2 per cent when taking the median figure on women’s wages into account.

A woman working full-time in Scotland will now earn a mean hourly rates of £14.63 – compared to £16.37 for a man.

The gap closed at a greater rate in Scotland in 2015 when compared to the rest of the UK.

However, Anna Ritchie Allan, of the Close the Gap project said, it remained “stubbornly persistent”.

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The figures also show that women in their thirties who work full-time are at the peak of their earning power when compared to their male counterparts.

However, this falls away during the 40’s when the pay gap hits 11.6 per cent. Only when a woman hits 60 will she earn less.

Ms Ritchie Allan said this was partly due to woman taking jobs that don’t meet their skill set after having children.

She said: “The significant increase in the pay gap for women over 40 is evidence of the ‘motherhood penalty’.

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“After having children, many women opt for the only part -time work that’s available, and that’s usually in low-paid jobs such as admin and retail.

“This means that many women are working below their skill level.”

She said this often had a “long term scarring effect” on future earnings Reducing hours in this way has a long-term scarring effect on women’s pay, promotion and pension prospects.

Meanwhile, the report also found that median pay for professional women has decreased in real terms.

A professional woman will now earn £18.19 an hour compared to £20.15 for a professional man.

This has widened the pay gap by 2.5 per cent between professional females and males.

Ms Ritchie Allan said this gap was largely explained by women’s under-representation in science, engineering and technology jobs.

However, she said more needed to be done to encourage employers to look at how their policies and practices may impact differently on male and female employees.

She said: “Employers who don’t take steps to close the pay gap are missing out on women’s skills and talent, and the economic cost of that is high.”