But, according to HECSU’s reseach, a gap persists even if men and women have the same qualifications. Female law graduates, for instance, can expect to earn 28% less than men at the start of their careers. They earn just over £20,000 on average – nearly £8,000 less than their male counterparts. This was despite that fact that more women than men applied to study law at university, out of those surveyed.
The same gap was found right across higher education subjects. Women who read medicine earned 9% less than men. And, out of those who studied physical sciences, women’s wages were £3,626 lower. In education, there was a 4.3% gender pay gap: women’s average wages were £21,679 compared with £22,661 for men.
A few years back the story was that all women earn, on average less than all men. Something which is true. Then people started to look into the statistics (and I played a very small part in this) and we saw something rather interesting in said statistics.
The pay gap comes and goes dependent upon age cohort. For those 16-21 it’s very definitely a pay gap in favour of women. For those 21-30 it’s around and about equality. Then for those older than 30 it opens up to being in favour of men. Up at the top of the age range it’s still in favour of men.
That last is an effect of undeniable past discrimination. Those born in hte 50s did not have equal access to higher education for example: not as it actually worked out at least.
But among the younger cohorts, that pay gap is entirely consistent with the explanation that it’s all about children, not gender per se. 30 is the average age at primagravidae these days.
Which leaves campaigners with something of a problem really. If, on average, using the method they’ve used for decades to measure the gender pay gap, there isn’t a gender pay gap, then in order to keep the show on the road they’ve got to use some other measurement method, don’t they? Which is what they’re doing here. Instead of lookinig at the average population they’re now looking at those doing “the same job”.
And that’s going to be a very difficult furrow to plough if we’re to be honest. For we’ve another set of statistics out there. The male and female pay numbers for the very same jobs. As a nurse, as a dustman, as a clinical lab assistant and so on. And those show that, outside a couple of fairly obvious exceptions (where brute physical strength is needed for example) there really is no gender pay gap observable. But anything to keep the show on the road, eh?