Will female professionals in the OECD have to wait 95 years for equal pay?

23 February 2017 by IAB and TA editorial

The average time to close the pay gap at current rates of progress amongst OECD countries is of 95 years, according to a research by PwC.

PwC has published its annual Women in Work Index, which measures levels of female economic empowerment across 33 OECD countries.

This year’s index revealed the gender pay gap in the OECD is at 16%, however figures vary greatly depending on countries and sectors. South Korea, Japan and Germany report the largest pay gaps at 36%, 26% and 22% respectively. On the other hand the smallest pay gaps are found in Poland (7%), New Zealand (6%) and Slovenia (6%).

The UK has surpassed the average performance of both the OECD and G7 economies due to increasing female employment rates, according to PwC. However despite the gender pay gap in the UK narrowing, PwC’s research shows that based on a continuation of historical trends it will take until 2041 (24 years) to close it.

Financial services has the largest gender pay gap in the UK, with women on average paid 34% less than their male counterparts, according to PwC’s research.

Job segregation between men and women, both across industries and job roles, is one of the biggest factors contributing to the gender pay gap, PwC said. To address imbalances, more high quality roles are needed for women in the workplace, the Big Four firm preconized.

The top six positions on the index have remained unchanged, with Iceland, Sweden and Norway topping the ranking.
Israel has seen the most significant positive movement in its rank since 2000 has it climbed from the 26th spot to the 14th position in 2015. The largest negative movement in the same period was recorded by the USA who dropped from rank 9th to 20th.

Jon Terry, global financial services people leader at PwC, said: “This is no longer just an HR issue or the right thing to do. For firms falling behind in addressing their diversity issues this is becoming a real business risk.”

Laura Hinton, executive board member and head of people at PwC, said: “While it’s encouraging that the UK is making progress on closing the gender pay gap, it is depressing that it will still take around a generation to close it completely. Pay reporting requirements should help speed up change as businesses will face greater accountability. But merely reporting numbers without any concrete action won’t change anything.”

All the data from PwC’s research is available here: Women in Work Index