Part-time working hits UK working mums’ wages hard Part-time working hits UK working mums’ wages hard

Part-time working hits UK working mums’ wages hard
14 Feb 2018

Part-time working is taking a big toll on the earning potential of UK working mothers, a new study has found.

Childcare obligations and a lack of flexible job opportunities result in women taking lower-skilled roles, according to People Management.

Even before having children, women earn about 10% less than men, but the gap increases rapidly once they become a parent as many move into part-time work, or take time out entirely.

By the time their child reaches 20, a working mother will earn 30% less per hour on average than a working father from a similar educational background, the report by The Institute for The Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed.

The lack of earnings growth associated with part-time work has a particularly marked effect on graduate women as it is they who would have benefitted most from wage progression. For example, female graduates who work full-time for seven years before having a child would, on average, see their hourly salary rise by 6% above general wage inflation. But such gains are lost when they switch to part-time work.

Other findings from the research, which was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, include the fact that the wage gap has not fallen in the last 25 years for the most highly educated women. As a result, female graduates still earn about 22% less per hour than male graduates.

Experts believe the key to tackling the issue is to persuade employers to offer more flexible working arrangements.

But Denise Keating, chief executive of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, told People Management that there were a number of assumptions in play here. For instance, line managers tended to presume that working mothers did not want additional responsibility on top of their childcare commitments.

This situation resulted in “benevolent sexism” – where colleagues and managers try to look after working mothers by giving them easy tasks – and “a belief that working mothers will prioritise their children over their career”, she said

Gill Oliver is a business and property journalist who has written for The Daily Mail/Mail Online's This is Money, The Press Association and many national and regional newspapers and magazines.

Part-time working is taking a big toll on the earning potential of UK working mothers, a new study has found.

Childcare obligations and a lack of flexible job opportunities result in women taking lower-skilled roles, according to People Management.

Even before having children, women earn about 10% less than men, but the gap increases rapidly once they become a parent as many move into part-time work, or take time out entirely.

By the time their child reaches 20, a working mother will earn 30% less per hour on average than a working father from a similar educational background, the report by The Institute for The Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed.

The lack of earnings growth associated with part-time work has a particularly marked effect on graduate women as it is they who would have benefitted most from wage progression. For example, female graduates who work full-time for seven years before having a child would, on average, see their hourly salary rise by 6% above general wage inflation. But such gains are lost when they switch to part-time work.

Other findings from the research, which was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, include the fact that the wage gap has not fallen in the last 25 years for the most highly educated women. As a result, female graduates still earn about 22% less per hour than male graduates.

Experts believe the key to tackling the issue is to persuade employers to offer more flexible working arrangements.

But Denise Keating, chief executive of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, told People Management that there were a number of assumptions in play here. For instance, line managers tended to presume that working mothers did not want additional responsibility on top of their childcare commitments.

This situation resulted in “benevolent sexism” – where colleagues and managers try to look after working mothers by giving them easy tasks – and “a belief that working mothers will prioritise their children over their career”, she said

Gill Oliver is a business and property journalist who has written for The Daily Mail/Mail Online's This is Money, The Press Association and many national and regional newspapers and magazines.

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