Research by CIPHR suggests that most employees think there is no gender pay gap where they work. The reality is somewhat different, with the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics revealing that many popular job roles in the UK have gender pay gaps. CIPHR analysed the official data to find out which occupations, industries, and geographical locations, have the widest and smallest gender pay gaps in 2021.
Based on the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, over 10.6 million people in the UK are employed in just 30 different job roles / occupations. Each of these jobs are held by over 200,000 people or more.
27 of the 30 — that’s 90% of these jobs — pay men more on average, with the gender pay gap in favour of men ranging from -3% for retail cashiers and check-out operators to 30.8% for financial managers and directors. The UK’s average gender pay gap in favour of men is 15.4% in 2021, up from 14.9% in 2020.
|Number of employees
(July 2020 – June 2021)
|Average median gender pay gap in favour of men (%)|
|Sales and retail assistants||866,900||5%|
|Care workers and home carers||730,500||1.7%|
|Other administrative occupations n.e.c. (including administrative assistant, clerical assistant, clerical officer, clerk & office administrator)||641,100||10.5%|
|Sales accounts and business development managers||461,600||12.5%|
|Elementary storage occupations (including freight handler, order picker & warehouse worker)||427,400||7.4%|
|Programmers and software development professionals||421,400||4.8%|
|Book-keepers, payroll managers and wages clerks||407,500||7.9%|
|Kitchen and catering assistants||404,100||-1%|
|Primary and nursery education teaching professionals||401,200||1.6%|
|Nursing auxiliaries and assistants||398,200||3.4%|
|Secondary education teaching professionals||378,700||3.9%|
|Customer service occupations n.e.c. (including customer adviser, customer service administrator, customer service adviser, customer service assistant & customer services representative)||325,500||1.9%|
|Business and financial project management professionals||322,200||17.4%|
|Cleaners and domestics||316,700||0.3%|
|Financial managers and directors||276,800||30.8%|
|Managers and directors in retail and wholesale||251,300||16.1%|
|Large goods vehicle drivers||245,600||-0.9%|
|Production managers and directors in manufacturing||239,700||10.7%|
|IT specialist managers||238,500||20.7%|
|Retail cashiers and check-out operators||231,900||-3%|
|Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c. (including adult education tutor, education consultant, music teacher, nursery manager – day nursery & private tutor)||221,100||18%|
|Business and related associate professionals n.e.c. (including business systems analyst, data analyst, marine consultant, planning assistant, project administrator & project coordinator)||218,100||14.3%|
|Finance and investment analysts and advisers||218,000||6.1%|
|National government administrative occupations||208,400||5.6%|
|Higher education teaching professionals||206,900||10.8%|
|Information technology and telecommunications professionals n.e.c. (including IT consultant, quality analyst – computing, software tester, systems tester – computing & telecommunications planner)||203,100||8.6%|
Derby, St Albans and the City of London have the widest median gender pay gaps in the UK. Organisations based in these three cities have gender pay gaps of over 26% in favour of men (31.3%, 27.4%, and 26.3% respectively).
Other cities with gender pay gaps of 20% or more include Coventry (25.8%), York (21.9%), Lancaster (21.6%), Winchester (21%), and Birmingham (20%). Followed by City of Westminster and Kingston upon Hull, which have gender pay gaps of 19.6% and 18.2% respectively.
In comparison, pay gaps in cities in Scotland and Wales are lower. Scottish and Welsh cities with the widest gender pay gaps include Aberdeen (15.1%), Cardiff (15%), Swansea (9.4%), Glasgow (9.2%), Stirling (9.2%), and Newport (9%).
Full city data:
|City in the UK||Average median gender pay gap (%)|
|City of London||26.3%|
|City of Westminster||19.6%|
|Kingston upon Hull UA||18.2%|
|Brighton and Hove UA||16.8%|
|Average median gender pay gap (%)||Average median annual salary||Amount women are typically paid for every pound earned by a man|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||16.20%||£23,800||84p|
|East of England||16%||£25,334||84p|
Note: Geographical data shown above is for all employees (full-time and part-time) and by place of work (not by place of residence).
Looking at the data by pay disparity rather than employee numbers, there are many occupations – spanning numerous sectors – with far wider gender pay gaps than the UK average of 15.4%.
The top three occupations in the UK with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men include production managers and directors in mining and energy (44.7%), assemblers – vehicles and metal goods (33.2%), and chemical and related process operatives (32.5%). Followed by financial managers and directors, and metal making and treating process operatives, with gender pay gaps in favour of men of 30.8% and 30.7% respectively.
Top 30 occupations / jobs, with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men in 2021 (showing the average amount women are typically paid for every pound earned by a man):
According to the Office for National Statistics, the median annual pay for full-time employees in the UK has decreased by 0.6% from £31,461 to £31,285 in 2021. For full-time employees, the UK’s average gender pay gap in favour of men is 7.9% in 2021, up from 7% in 2020.
Full gender pay gap by industry / sector data:
|Average median gender pay gap (full-time employees, in %)||Median annual pay (full-time employees)|
|Financial and insurance activities||23.6%||£43,508|
|Information and communication||19%||£41,552|
|Professional, scientific and technical activities||17.6%||£37,246|
|Human health and social work activities||17%||£28,181|
|Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply||13.4%||£43,430|
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||11.5%||£26,363|
|Other service activities||11.3%||£27,723|
|Arts, entertainment and recreation||11%||£25,548|
|Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities||9.8%||£32,069|
|Real estate activities||9.3%||£30,171|
|Average for all full-time employees||7.9%||£31,285|
|Public administration and defence; compulsory social security||7%||£33,447|
|Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles||5%||£26,244|
|Administrative and support service activities||4.1%||£27,068|
|Accommodation and food service activities||1.6%||£20,015|
|Transportation and storage||0.4%||£31,902|
|Mining and quarrying||-1.3%||£37,567|
All data sourced from the Office for National Statistics (ONS):