Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London Has Biggest U.K. Gender Pay Gap After 20-Year Stagnation

  • Other regions have done more to narrow inequality since 1997
  • Female workers in London still earn 15 percent less than men

Women working in London are paid the least relative to their male counterparts in the whole of the U.K.

The gender pay gap in London is almost as big now as it was in 1997, meaning the U.K. capital has gone from having the narrowest divide to the widest in 20 years as other U.K. regions posted greater improvements, according to an Office for National Statistics report published Monday.

Women working full-time in London earn 14.6 percent less per hour than their male colleagues, compared with 15.1 percent in 1997, the ONS said. Inequality is smallest in Northern Ireland, where women are now paid slightly more than men, Wales and Scotland.

The figures come months after the disclosure of pay disparities between male and female talent at the British Broadcasting Corp. prompted a backlash and an open letter from at least 40 women calling for action. Starting next year, companies with more than 250 employees in the U.K. will have to report how much they are paying in salaries and bonuses to their male and female staff.

In the public sector, the wage gap has stagnated in the country as a whole, with women earning 13.1 percent less per hour, from 13.5 percent in 1997. While the gulf is bigger in private industry, at 15.9 percent, the sector has seen a dramatic improvement from 23.8 percent two decades ago.

Among part-time workers, the picture is very different, with women earning more in all U.K. regions. While in most cases this marks a reversal from 1997, in the southeast men working part-time men have seen faster wage growth in the past two-decades.

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