Women still los­ing out in salary stakes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sounds Good -

WOMEN who work in Kent earn al­most a third less than their male coun­ter­parts.

De­spite years of cam­paign­ing by equal rights groups, the av­er­age man work­ing in the county still brings home around £9,000 more than the av­er­age woman.

The fig­ures, pub­lished in a sur­vey by the Of­fice of Na­tional Statis­tics show that a woman with a ca­reer span­ning 40 years would lose out on £346,920 in her life­time, the equiv­a­lent of 21 new cars.

Shock­ingly, the pay gap has ac­tu­ally widened in the past year – since 2007, earn­ings for women work­ing here have fallen an­other £250 be­hind men.

The statis­tics for men and women liv­ing in Kent but work­ing ei­ther here or else­where are even larger – the gap has widened by al­most £2,000 to £14,332.

Ni­cola Brewer, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Equal­ity and Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, said: ‘In th­ese tough eco­nomic times, every­one will be count­ing the pounds and pence.

“To­day’s fig­ures show women in par­tic­u­lar are feel­ing the pinch. The pay gap high­lights a wider fail­ure – Bri­tain’s fail­ure to work bet­ter. Women who want or need flex­i­bil­ity of­ten find they have to trade down.

“Many of the well-paid, high­sta­tus jobs are stuck in an in­flex­i­ble 1950s mould de­signed for an era when men worked and women stayed at home.”

Over­all, the best place to earn money as a man is Dart­ford, where male em­ploy­ees can ex­pect to earn an av­er­age an­nual in­come of £38,296; how­ever, the rich­est men in the county live in the Seve­naoks area, with the av­er­age male earn­ing a stag­ger­ing £52,889.

For women, the best place to earn a bit of cash in Kent is Tun­bridge Wells, where the av­er­age woman nets around £26,328 an­nu­ally, al­though the rich­est women liv­ing in the county join their rich male coun­ter­parts in Sevenoaks, earn­ing £44,010 on av­er­age a year.

Dis­heart­en­ing

Sarah Veale, a com­mis­sioner at the Women’s Na­tional Com­mis­sion, blames the gap on two main prin­ci­ples; the pay rate tend­ing to be higher among typ­i­cally male jobs and the be­lief among some em­ploy­ers still that women aren’t the prin­ci­ple bread­win­ners and are sim­ply sup­ple­ment­ing their hus­band’s in­come.

She said: “It is very dis­heart­en­ing be­cause of­ten the ac­tual value to so­ci­ety of the two jobs may be equal, or it may even be that the value to so­ci­ety of a typ­i­cally fe­male job may be higher, for in­stance, the role of a care worker com­pared to that of some­one who puts a car to­gether.”

The pay gap dif­fered greatly in dif­fer­ent parts of the county – in Shep­way male em­ploy­ees earned al­most £15,000 more than fe­males but, in Swale there was only a £4,000 dif­fer­ence.

Sarah Veale warns that the pay gap will never close un­til com­pa­nies be­come more trans­par­ent about pay.

She said: “All em­ploy­ers should be made to pub­lish what they pay peo­ple so that you can see for your­self whether you’re be­ing paid less than a man who’s do­ing a job of equiv­a­lent value.”

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