Mind the (pay) gap...
HOW much do other people get paid?
If you’ve ever wondered, you’re in luck, because a Government body has just published a breakdown of what we earn.
It shows how salaries differ across the country - and exposes the large gap in pay between men and women.
It’s called the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and it’s published by the Office for National Statistics.
In the North, the median salary for a person with a full time job is £26,095 a year - that’s the total amount, so it includes any bonuses or overtime pay.
Median means if you lined up everyone with a full time job in order of their salary and pointed to the person right in the middle, you’d be pointing at someone who earns £26,095 a year.
Another way of looking at it is half of full time workers earn less than £26,095, and half earn this much or more.
The North in this case means County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
If you earn £34,070 a year in the North then you are in the top 30 per cent of full-time workers. In other words, less than a third of people with full-time jobs earn this much.
And if you earn £40,000 a year in the region then you’re in the top 20 per cent. That’s the top one in five. A significant number of people earn less than £20,000 a year. In fact, 25 per cent of North workers have a total salary of £19,632 or less.
Salaries can vary depending on where you live.
While the median full time North East salary is £26,095 a year, it’s a bit lower in Tees Valley at £25,844.
It’s a little higher in the North West, in the Greater Manchester area, the figure is £26,315.
Wages are higher in London and the surrounding area. The median full time salary in Hertfordshire, just north of London, is £34,199.
But the difference is biggest at the top of the pay scale.
The top ten per cent of fulltime employees in the North East are paid £49,556 a year or more.
But the top ten per cent in London get £79,089 or more.
Even within regions, there are significant differences.
The best-paid place in the North East is North Tyneside, where the median salary for a person is £28,011.
Meanwhile, the lowest are in Sunderland at £24,951.
These just show what people are paid. They don’t take into account the jobs they are doing.
So it’s possible a shop worker in one place is paid exactly the same as a shopworker in another place. The difference might be one area has a lot of low-paid shopworker jobs while another has more well-paid skilled engineering jobs.
They also reveal the gap between men and women.
The median wage for full time male employees in the North East is £28,087 a year. But for women, it’s £23,410. That’s a wage gap of £4,677 a year.
Again, this doesn’t mean women and men are being paid different amounts for doing exactly the same jobs.
But just because the reasons are more complex doesn’t make it acceptable, say campaigners such as the Fawcett Society.
It says simple discrimination is one factor. Others include a tendency to undervalue roles done by women, the dominance of men in the best paid positions and unequal caring responsibilities.
The Fawcett Society has run a campaign, backed by many MPs. It named Friday Equal Pay Day, on the basis women effectively stop being paid then, if their labour is equal in value to men’s.
Sam Smethers, Fawcett Society Chief Executive, said: “The pay gap is widest for older women as it grows over our working lives but we are now seeing a widening of the pay gap for younger women too, which suggests we are going backwards and that is extremely worrying.
“At a time when we are breaking the taboo of talking about sexual harassment in the workplace we need to wake up to the fact that a culture which tolerates or even fosters sexual harassment isn’t going to pay women properly either, and we know younger women are particularly likely to experience harassment.”