Gender pay gap statistics 2023

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The latest employee earning figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that many popular job roles in the UK have gender pay gaps. HR software provider Ciphr analysed the official data to find out which occupations, industries, and geographical locations, have the widest and smallest gender pay gaps in 2023.

Popular occupations in the UK and their gender pay gaps

Most (81%) occupations that employ 50,000 full-time workers or more in the UK have gender pay gaps in favour of men. Only 2% of such job roles have no reported pay gaps, and less than one in five (17%) pay women more.

Occupations with the largest workforces appear the most likely to have a gender pay gap. Based on the latest data, every job role with over 200,000 full-time employees in the UK has a gender pay gap in favour of men. This includes job titles such as IT manager, admin assistant, LGV driver, secondary school teacher, retail manager, warehouse operative, and financial manager or financial director.

Across all occupations, the average median gender pay gap for full-time workers in the UK in 2023 is 7.7% in favour of men. This means that the gender pay gap has stayed relatively unchanged for full-time workers over the last year (it was 7.6% in 2022), with women’s hourly pay still lagging men’s hourly pay in many occupations. The UK’s mean gender pay gap for full-time employees is 10.7% in favour of men.

Full-time female employees working in the private sector must also contend with a bigger pay gap than those in the public sector (12.8% vs 9.6%).

For all workers (full- and part-time), the UK’s median gender pay gap in 2023 is 14.3% in favour of men (down 0.1% from 14.4% in 2022). So, women in the UK only earn 86 pence, on average, for every pound earned by men.

  • Around 15.7 million people (including full- and part-time workers) in the UK are employed in occupations with a gender pay gap of 1% or higher in favour of men
  • The three occupations employing the largest number of full-time workers (over 1.3 million people) in 2023 are programmers and software development professionals, care workers and home carers, and secondary education teaching professionals
  • The average gender pay gap for programmers and software development professionals in 2023 is 9.6% in favour of men. 85% of people employed full-time in this role are men
  • Women employed as full-time care workers in the UK almost have gender pay parity (73% of the workforce are women). The gender pay gap for this job role is close to zero, but still tipped in favour of men at 0.3%
  • Over three-fifths (61%) of the UK’s 350,800 full-time secondary school teachers are women, yet this occupation has a gender pay gap of 4.9% in favour of men. So, women doing this job typically only earn an average of 95p for every pound earned by men
  • There are 349,500 full-time administrative / clerical workers in the UK – about 72% of which are women. Other administrative occupations n.e.c. (which includes job titles like administrative assistant, clerical assistant, and office administrator) has a 5.1% gender pay gap in favour of men
  • The fifth largest full-time occupation in the UK in 2023 is warehouse operatives, with around 335,400 workers (15% of which are women) and a 4.8% gender pay gap in favour of men
  • The full-time occupation with the widest gender pay gap, at 26.2%, is financial managers and directors. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 305,200 people working in this role full-time are men
  • There are only two full-time occupation types with no reported gender pay gaps for 2023: senior care workers and national government administrative occupations
  • Over half (59%) of job roles held by at least 200,000 full-time employees have higher gender pay gaps (in favour of men) than they did in 2022
  • Generally, however, more full-time jobs have decreased their gender pay gaps (in favour of men) than increased them since 2022. Over half (57%) have a lower gender pay gap now, and two-fifths (43%) have a higher gender pay gap

Job roles with the largest full-time workforces in the UK and their gender pay gaps for 2023:

Note:

Ciphr reviewed the 2023 gender pay gap data to find out whether occupations that have more female employees than male employees also have widespread gender pay gaps. According to the findings, many of the UK's female-dominated occupations (where at least 60% or more of the workers holding these job roles are women) do have gender pay gaps.

Over half (56%) of all female-dominated occupations (for full- and part-time workers) have gender pay gaps in favour of men. Only 4% of these have no reported pay gaps, while two-fifths (40%) have gender pay gaps in favour of women.

Female-dominated careers with the widest gender pay gaps

Ciphr reviewed the 2023 gender pay gap data to find out whether occupations that have more female employees than male employees also have widespread gender pay gaps. According to the findings, many of the UK's female-dominated occupations (where at least 60% or more of the workers holding these job roles are women) do have gender pay gaps.

Over half (56%) of all female-dominated occupations (for full- and part-time workers) have gender pay gaps in favour of men. Only 4% of these have no reported pay gaps, while two-fifths (40%) have gender pay gaps in favour of women.

Workers in full-time employment

  • 63% of UK job roles with more full-time female employees than full-time male employees in the workforce have a gender pay gap in favour of men
  • The female-dominated occupation with the largest gender pay gap for full-time workers is nursery education teaching professionals at 24.2%. Women doing this job in the UK typically only earn an average of 76p for every pound earned by a man
  • The average gender pay gaps for full-time education managers; education advisers and school inspectors; and office managers, are 16.8%, 14.7% and 13.4% respectively
  • The female-dominated occupation with the fifth-largest gender pay gap (13.4% in favour of men) is other educational professionals (including bursars, teaching co-ordinators, academic tutors, and exam officers and markers). So, women doing this job typically only earn an average of 87p for every pound earned by a man
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of people who work full-time as authors, writers and translators are women. This occupation has a 12.8% gender pay gap in favour of men
  • Some of the female-dominated occupations which pay women more than men (ie the gender pay gap is in favour of women) include occupational therapists, credit controllers, vets, PAs, special educational needs (SEN) teachers, HR officers, and publicans

Female-dominated occupations with the largest (and smallest) gender pay gaps for full-time workers

All workers

  • Some of the occupations with the largest gender pay gaps include education managers and office managers (22% and 16.9% respectively). Over 70% of workers holding these jobs are women
  • Around 60% of legal associate professionals, solicitors and lawyers are women. They have pay gaps of 12.3% and 10.1% respectively. So, women doing this job typically only earn an average of 88p and 90p respectively for every pound earned by men
  • About 95% of the UK’s early education and childcare assistants are women. This occupation has a 2.3% gender pay gap in favour of men

Gender-balanced roles and the gender pay gap

Gender pay gaps also persist for many full-time occupations that employ a relatively equal number of male and female employees (5% either way).

Ciphr researchers compared gender pay gap data for job roles where at least 45% (and no more than 55%) of the workforce are women, and at least 45% (and no more than 55%) of the workforce are men. They found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of these 'gender-balanced' job roles have gender pay gaps in favour of men, while nearly a quarter (23%) have gender pay gaps in favour of women.

  • Of all the gender-balanced occupations (held by 50,000 full-time employees or more), the one with the largest gender pay gap (7.2% in favour of men) is business, research and administrative professionals n.e.c. (roles in this group include a range of jobs in local government, at the ONS, HM Land Registry, Jobcentre Plus, and Health and Safety Executive)
  • Some of the other full-time, gender-balanced job roles with gender pay gaps above 5% include business associate professionals n.e.c. (including business systems analyst, planning assistant, and project coordinator), customer service managers, and laboratory technicians (6.5%, 6.3%, and 5.5% respectively)
  • The average gender pay gap for full-time generalist medical practitioners in the UK (which includes job titles such as hospital doctor, GP, medical examiner, and physician) is 4.7% in favour of men
  • There are 267,500 people (51% men and 49% women) working full-time as sales and retail assistants in the UK. It has a 4.5% gender pay gap in favour of men
  • The occupations with the narrowest gender pay gaps (closest to zero) are kitchen and catering assistants, and actuaries, economists and statisticians. They have a gender pay gap of 0.7% in favour of men and -0.8% in favour of women respectively
  • National government administrative occupations (which includes a range of administrative jobs in the government, armed forces, at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), HM Land Registry, courts of justice, Jobcentre Plus, Meteorological Office, and Health and Safety Executive) have no reported gender pay gap for 2023

Which UK towns and cities have the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men?

Ciphr compared gender pay gap data for 100 major towns and cities in the UK to identify which locations have the largest and smallest gender pay gaps for full-time workers in 2023.

Bracknell, Derby, and Gloucester topped the list with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of male full-time workers.

Organisations based in these three towns have gender pay gaps of 41.1%, 26.2%, and 24.8% respectively.

Other towns and cities with gender pay gaps of 20% or more include Wokingham (gender pay gap of 24.4%), Colchester (23.9%), and Reading (20.7%).

Crawley, Coventry, and York are also in the top ten, with gender pay gaps of around 19%. This means that women employed by firms based in these three towns and cities earn around 81p for every £1 a man earns.

In comparison, Scottish and Welsh towns and cities tend to have lower gender pay gaps for full-time workers, with the widest in Newport (10%), Bridgend (9.6%), Cardiff (8.5%), Edinburgh (8.5%), and Glasgow (6.7%). (Comparable data for Northern Ireland was not available.)

UK towns and cities with the lowest (under 1%) gender pay gaps in favour of men include Nottingham (0.1%), Oldham (0.5%), and Ipswich (0.9%). Caerphilly in Wales has no reported gender pay gap.

Northern Ireland has the lowest gender pay gap for full-time workers at -3.5%, with Scotland at 1.7%, Wales at 5.6%, and England at 9%.

bracknell-2

1. Bracknell

41.1%

Average median gender pay gap

derby-1

2. Derby

26.2%

Average median gender pay gap

derby-1

3. Gloucester

24.8%

Average median gender pay gap

wokingham

4. Wokingham

24.4%

Average median gender pay gap

colchester

5. Colchester

23.9%

Average median gender pay gap

colchester

6. Reading

20.7%

Average median gender pay gap

crawley

7. Crawley

19.8%

Average median gender pay gap

coventry-1

8. Coventry

18.9%

Average median gender pay gap

york-1

9. York

18.8%

Average median gender pay gap

winchester

10. Winchester

17.5%

Average median gender pay gap

cambridge-1

11. Cambridge

17.4%

Average median gender pay gap

guildford

12. Guildford

17.3%

Average median gender pay gap

basildon

13. Basildon

17%

Average median gender pay gap

stafford

14. Stafford

17%

Average median gender pay gap

northampton

15. Northampton

16.7%

Average median gender pay gap

Note:

Geographical data shown above is for full-time employees and by place of work (not by place of residence). Comparable gender pay gap data was not available for Belfast or Harrogate.

* Figures shown are for West Northamptonshire.

UK towns and cities with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of women

Swansea and St. Helens topped the list with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of female full-time workers.

Organisations based in these towns have gender pay gaps of -4.9% and -3.7% respectively.

Which parts of the UK have the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men?

England leads the four nations when it comes to the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men. Without exception, all English regions have higher gender pay gaps than Wales (5.6%), Scotland (1.7%) and Northern Ireland (-3.5%).

The gender pay gap for full-time workers has increased in six of nine regions in England. The South East, East Midlands, and London top the list of places with the widest gender pay gaps. Organisations based in these areas have gender pay gaps of 12.9%, 11.9%, and 11.9% respectively.

map-gender-pay-gap-2023

Note:

Geographical data shown above is for full-time employees and by place of work (not by place of residence).

Which job roles have the widest gender pay gaps?

Looking at the data by pay disparity rather than employee numbers, there are many occupations – spanning numerous sectors – with far wider gender pay gaps for full-time workers than the UK average of 7.7%.

The top three occupations in the UK with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of men include financial managers and directors (26.2%), managers and proprietors in other services n.e.c. (25.8%, including job titles such as recruitment agency manager, driving school manager, library manager, and customer experience manager), and assemblers – vehicles and metal goods (24.8%).

Job roles with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of women in 2023

The five full-time jobs with the widest gender pay gaps in favour of women include biological scientists (-19.1%), social and humanities scientists (-18.4%), publicans and managers of licensed premises (-17.2%), personal assistants and other secretaries (-13.5%), and occupational therapists (-12.7%).

Only national government administrative occupations and senior care workers are reported to have no gender pay gaps at all (for full-time workers) in 2023.

Which industries in the UK have the widest gender pay gap for full-time workers?

According to the Office for National Statistics, the median annual salary for workers in full-time employment in the UK has increased by 5.8% to £34,963 in 2023. The average weekly pay for full-time employees is £681.70 and the average hourly rate is £17.48.

The median (gross) pay for full-time male employees was £725 a week (or £18.14 an hour). Full-time female employees were paid nearly £100 less a week, on average – at £628.90 (or £16.65 an hour). According to the Office for National Statistics, this works out to a 7.7% gender pay gap, which means that, on an hourly basis, women earn 92p for every pound earned by a man.

Ciphr’s analysis of the 2023 gender pay gap data shows that, on average, men’s full-time hourly pay is higher than women’s full-time hourly pay in nearly (90%) every UK industry. Pay gaps vary from 2.3% for transportation and storage up to 22.7% for those employed in financial and insurance activities.

Women employed in the UK's water supply sector almost have gender pay parity (0.3%), while those in mining and quarrying, and other service activities (working as hairdressers, trade union reps, phone repair technicians, and funeral arrangers, for example) have negative pay gaps of -1.6% and -4.4% respectively.

Only two industries in the UK pays its full-time female employees more on average per hour than its full-time male employees.

  • The highest paying industry for full-time workers in 2022 is electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, with an average salary of £50,528 a year. Its gender pay gap in favour of men is 21.2%
  • Workers employed in financial and insurance activities were paid an average of £48,197 a year. The gender pay gap in favour of men is 22.7%
  • The third highest paid sector is mining and quarrying, with an average salary of £46,978 in 2023. The gender pay gap is -1.6% (so women in this industry earn slightly more than men per hour, on average)
  • The next two highest paying industries are information and communication, and professional, scientific and technical activities – both have gender pay gaps of 13%-14% in favour of men
  • The lowest earners in 2023, on average, were those working in the accommodation and food service industry (the gender pay gap in favour of men is 3.6%). Their average salary of £25,522 is around two-thirds of the UK average

To see how your hourly rate compares with the UK average, try Ciphr’s hourly wage calculator.

Gender pay gap widens with age

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, the gender pay gap in favour of men is wider for employees over 40 years old than those under 40 years old.

The median gender pay gap in 2023 for full and part-time employees in their twenties is 4.8%. For employees in their thirties, the gender pay gap has doubled to 11.5%. In their forties, it's reached 17%, and by their fifties, it’s a significant 19.8%.

It's a similar picture for full-time workers (see chart below) – with the gender pay gap increasing from 4.7% for people in their thirties to 10.3% for those in their forties (and higher still for 50+ year-olds).

To illustrate regional variations in the gender pay gap between different age groups, Ciphr created a chart (in 2022) mapping how the gender pay gap changes for workers aged 18-39 years old and those over 40 years across the UK. (Comparable figures have yet to be released for 2023.)

Gender-pay-gap-FT-2022-by-age-pt1-600
Gender-pay-gap-FT-2022-by-age-pt2

Note:

Geographical data shown above is for full-time employees and by place of work (not by place of residence) in 2022. The median gender pay gaps for 18-21, 22-29, and 30-39 age groups were averaged (with equal weighting) to create the 18-39 years old results, and the median gender pay gaps for 40-49, 50-59 and 60+ age groups were averaged (with equal weighting) to create the 40+ years old results.

Notes

All data and wage gap statistics sourced from the Office for National Statistics (ONS):

  • Gender pay gap in the UK: 2023 (provisional dataset released on 1 November 2023): https://bit.ly/3Sz1inx
  • Employee earnings in the UK: 2023 (Measures of employee earnings, using data from the Annual Survey for Hours and Earnings – ASHE: provisional dataset released on 1 November 2023): https://bit.ly/45WYcgc
  • NOMIS – Occupation (SOC2020) by sex, employment status and full/part-time (online dataset: July 2022-June 2023): https://bit.ly/40pJZHy
  • Mid-2021 estimates of the population for the UK, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (released 21 December 2022) – Table MYE2: Persons by single year of age and sex for local authorities in the UK, mid-2021: http://bit.ly/3WuIUdM
  • SOC 2020 Volume 2: the coding index and coding rules and conventions (Version 9: 12 October 2023)1: https://bit.ly/47wT2Zo
  • Gender pay gap in the UK: 2022 (provisional dataset released on 26 October 2022, revised edition on 1 November 2023): https://bit.ly/3Qpnqhz

Ciphr compared total population figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to create its list of the 100 most populous UK towns and cities: Aberdeen, Ashford, Barnsley, Basildon, Basingstoke (and Deane), Bath (and North East Somerset), Bedford, Belfast, Birkenhead (Wirral), Birmingham, Blackburn (with Darwen), Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole), Bracknell, Bradford, Bridgend, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Bury, Caerphilly, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chichester, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Derby, Doncaster, Dudley, Dundee, Eastleigh, Edinburgh, Exeter, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gloucester, Guildford, Harrogate, Havant, Horsham, Huddersfield (Kirklees), Hull, Ipswich, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newport, Northampton (West Northamptonshire), Norwich, Nottingham, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Rochdale, Rotherham, Salford, Sevenoaks, Sheffield, Slough, Solihull, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, St Albans, St. Helens, Stafford, Stockport, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunderland, Swansea, Swindon, Telford (and Wrekin), Wakefield, Walsall, Warrington, Warwick, Wigan, Winchester, Wokingham, Wolverhampton, Wrexham, and York.

Further reading:

Gender pay gap reporting 2023-24: what’s required? Ciphr answers some of the most common questions about gender pay gap reports — from the snapshot date and reporting deadline, to where to view other employers’ reports.

Most British workers likely to underestimate their employer’s gender pay gap: Despite most British workers (96%) agreeing that the UK has a gender pay gap, as many as 57% don’t believe there are any gender pay disparities in their own workplaces.