The overall UK gender pay gap has fallen at its fastest annual rate in six years, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
The national median pay gap declined by 0.7%, from 12.9% in 2021-22 to 12.2% in 2022-23, while the median hourly pay gap decreased from 9.8% in 2021-22 to 9.2% in 2022-23.
Since reporting became mandatory in 2017 for UK employers with more than 250 employees, the mean gender pay gap was found to have fallen by 1.2%, from 13.4% in 2017 to 12.2% in 2023.
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Of those that disclosed their pay gaps for both 2022-23 and 2021-22, 53.7% of businesses reported a decrease in their mean pay gaps, with 46% of those that reported in both 2021-22 and 2022-23 seeing an increase or no change at all.
Nearly 60% of businesses reported increases or decreases of up to 4% from last year, while 35% saw changes between 0% and 2%. There was an equal split between those reporting increases and decreases.
Over the past year, the building societies sector had the largest gender pay gap at 30.1%, while the public administration sector had the lowest at 4.5%. The travel sector had the largest increase of +2%, while the technology sector had the largest decrease of -1.9%.
Katy Bennett, diversity, inclusion and equity consulting director at PWC, said: “While on the surface it is encouraging to see the most significant annual decrease in the UK’s mean gender pay gap this year, the data highlights that it is difficult for organisations to make meaningful reductions to their reporting figures.
“In order to do this, businesses need to understand the underlying drivers of their pay gaps and address the root causes, such as recruitment and attrition rates, external market pay expectations and organisational structures. Organisations need to demonstrate they will address the drivers of their pay gaps, moving the focus from reportable numbers to taking credible action to improve equality, inclusion and social impact.”