The gender pay gap in the manufacturing industry has fallen by 6% in the last decade, according to a new report by Informi.
Ahead of this weekend’s Small Business Saturday (2 December), the report shows that women who earned just 77p for every £1 a man earned in manufacturing back in 2008 now earn 83p, meaning that the remaining gender pay gap in the industry stands at 17%.
Since 2008, female hourly pay in manufacturing has increased by 26%, while male hourly pay over the same period has increased by 17% – meaning that the overall gender pay gap has narrowed by 28%.
Across all small business-dominated industries, which includes manufacturing, the gender pay gap is falling at twice the rate as that of all companies across the UK.
The research found that while the national gender pay gap was at 21% 10 years ago (and at 22% in SME-dominated industries), current wage inequalities in those sectors with a greater number of SME employees has fallen to 13%, compared to a national average of 17%.
With a 9% overall fall in the gender pay gap across these SME-dominated industries over the past 10 years, the sectors are set to eradicate the remaining 13% average wage inequalities by 2034, should it continue to fall at current rates.
Darren Nicholls, product manager for Informi, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and this report demonstrates that they are blazing a pathway towards wage equality and helping to eradicate the gender pay gap.
“Small businesses are not shackled by tradition, legacy or bureaucracy in the same manner as many large companies can be. That said, clearly a double-digit gap is still far too high.
“There’s a great deal more to be done, with some industries lagging behind others in implementing the necessary changes to ensure that females get just as many opportunities to thrive in their profession of choice.
“The fact that mandatory reporting has been brought in by the government for larger companies should act as an encouragement for small businesses to consider female progression within their own firms, auditing their own internal data and acting upon their results.”
Chloe Chambraud, gender equality director for Business in the Community, added: “Closing the gender pay gap is not just about equal pay, but about a much bigger organisational culture shift.
“Employers should understand any factors driving their pay gap, and address the root causes of inequality. This means reducing bias and increasing transparency in the recruitment, appraisal and promotion processes, normalise agile working, and offer financially viable parental leave packages for all.”
Sophia Morrell, chair of Labour in the City, added: “It is really encouraging to see SMEs leading the charge in the UK on closing the gender pay gap.
“Legislation can be helpful in pushing us towards equality, but the most forward-thinking companies have already been embedding these principles into their workplaces rather than waiting for regulation to force their hand.”