The full-time gender pay gap has narrowed by two percentage points between 2009 and 2010 from 10.2%, down from 12.2% in 2009.
According to the Office for National Statistics, it’s the biggest fall in the gender pay gap since the measure was first produced in 1997.
Taking a median average, gross annual earnings for full-time employees in April 2010 were up slightly compared with a year earlier to £25,900.
The ONS data shows that, in April, the UK workforce was made up of 12.7 million men and 12.3 million women.
In April 2010 hourly rates for men were £13.01 for full-timers, £7.69 for part-timers and £12.35 for all employees. For women, hourly rates were £11.68 for full-timers, £8.00 for part-timers and £9.90 for all employees.
Women’s full-time earnings increased more across the bottom 10% of the distribution than men’s, with growth of 1.8% compared with 0.8% for their male counterparts. The hourly earnings of the top 10% grew by 0.8% and 2.1% for men and women respectively.
The scale and direction of the gender pay gap varies according to age. For instance in the 22–29 age group, full-time women earned 2.1% more than full-time men and part-time women earned 1.7% more than part-time men.
The largest pay gaps in favour of men for full-time and part-time employees were in the 50–59 age group at 17% and 17.4% respectively. The largest pay gap for all employees, 27.4%, was seen in both the 40–49 and 50–59 age groups.
The widest pay differences by major occupation groups for full-time and all employees are seen in the skilled trades, where the gap ranges from 31.4% to 26%. The narrowest pay differences for full-time and all employees are in professional occupations where the gap ranges from 4.2% to 1.6%.