Gender Equality Statistics

  • In the UK alone, equalising the labour market participation has the potential to increase the size of the UK economy by £55 billion by 2030.
    Source: GEO internal analysis using data from EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality), 2017. “Economic case for gender equality in the EU”
  • Organisations in the top 25% for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to have profits above their industry average.
    Source: McKinsey, 2018. “Delivering through Diversity”
  • In the UK today, women are more likely to enter the workforce with higher qualifications than men, but earn less per hour. The pay gap increases sharply at the point couples have children – by the time their first child is aged 12, mothers’ average hourly wages are a third lower than fathers’.
    Source: GEO, Gender Equality at Every Stage: a roadmap for change, 2019.
  • Women are three times more likely than men to be working part time in the UK. Over the course of a lifetime, this adds up. Because women earn less, they save less. Of the 1.7 million people financially struggling in retirement, 70% are women.
    Source: Labour Market Statistics, 2019; Money Advice Service (2018), Market Segmentation.
  • Over 70% of entry level roles are occupied by women, but they make up only 34% of middle managers.
    Source: GEO/WBC, 2017 The Pipeline Effect.

Headline Gender Pay Gap Statistics

On the 3rd of November, the Office for National Statistics published new earnings figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for data collected as at 22 April 2020. 

This includes new figures for the UK’s gender pay gap (GPG) which saw the single biggest decline since 2016*.  This was driven by declining pay gaps in most regions of the UK, age groups, occupations and industry sectors.

  • Overall GPG decreased by 1.9 percentage points (pp) from 17.4% to 15.5% with declines in the full-time GPG (by 1.6pp to 7.4%) and the part-time GPG (by 0.6pp to -2.9%).
  • Every occupation saw a decrease in their GPG except for ‘Administrative and Secretarial Occupations’, which saw an increase of 0.4pp to 7.5% in 2020. 
  • Managers, Directors and Senior Officials had the largest decrease in GPG of all occupations (a 6.3pp decline to 11.3%). This is likely to have a significant effect on the GPG overall as these roles are the most senior and highest paid in the UK workforce.
  • The GPG is 0.0% for people aged 18-21. However, the GPG significantly increases as people reach 40 years old and peaks at the 50-59 age group (22.6%).  Factors that could contribute to this increase in GPG with age are focussed on the pay gaps that open following the birth of a woman's first child.
  • The GPG decreased in the majority of industries, including the top three industries which employ the most women: Human health and social work saw a 1.9pp reduction of the GPG to 15.7%, education reduced by 0.8pp to 24.6% and wholesale and retail trade declined by 3.5pp to 13.6%. These three industries also employ the most people.
  • All but two regions of England saw a fall in GPG with increases limited to London (0.7pp increase to 18.3%) and the East Midlands (0.2pp increase to 19.2%).  The East Midlands continues to have one of the largest GPGs at 19.2%, along with the South East (19.6%) and London (18.3%).  
  • On 22 April, approximately 8.8 million employees were furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and approximately half of these received only 80% of their normal pay.  While this had potential to reduce the GPG, furloughing had only a small effect, with the majority of the reduction due to underlying changes in pay. 

*Comparable data which precedes 2016 does not exist therefore we cannot be certain that our year on year calculation for change in GPG would be the same.

Source: GEO Internal analysis using data from Office for National Statistics

Hampton-Alexander Review 

The Hampton-Alexander Review aimed to improve the representation of women in the most senior roles across the FTSE 350 by close 2020. 

  • The FTSE 100, 250 and 350 all reached the target of women making up 33% of boards, with the FTSE100 reaching its target ahead of schedule;
  • The number of women on FTSE boards rose by 50% in just five years; and
  • Although the combined Executive Committees and direct reports did not reach the 33% target, there were year on year  improvements in these figures over the course of the Review. 

In February 2021, the fifth and final report from the Review was published. It showed:

  • The percentage of Women on FTSE 350 Boards:

          FTSE 100: 36.2%

          FTSE 250: 33.2%

          FTSE 350: 34.3%

  • The percentage of Women on the Executive Committee and their Direct Reports:

          FTSE 100: 30.6%

          FTSE 250: 28.5%

          FTSE 350: 29.4%


Linked Workstreams


Agents of Change Power List Awards

Click here to see the annual list of business leaders who are fighting for a more equal workplace.

Gender equality at every stage: a roadmap for change

This cross-government roadmap sets out actions to tackle persistent gendered inequalities. It was published alongside the case for change and the gender equality monitor for tracking progress on gender equality. Click here to see all three publications.

The Hampton-Alexander Review

The Hampton-Alexander Review is an independent, voluntary and business led review supported by BEIS and GEO. It follows on from the Davies Review to increase the number of women on the FTSE 350 boards and in senior leadership positions. Click here to find out more about the Review.