Gender pay gap sees rapid increase when women hit 30 and start having children

Gender pay gap sees rapid increase when women hit 30 and start having children

The gender pay gap significantly increases for female workers as they enter their thirties and forties, the Resolution Foundation reports.

Analysis from the think tank published on Wednesday indicated that women born between 1981 and 2000 (millennials) will earn nine per cent less than their male counterparts when they reach 30, leading to significant earnings inequality over their careers.

The report reviewed hourly pay of different generations of women as far back as those born between 1911 and 1925.

It highlighted that while the gender pay gap had closed for every subsequent generation of women, workers are still facing a motherhood penalty. The pay gap once women reach their thirties has seen very little in a generation.


Among baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) the gender pay gap increased from 21 per cent at the age of 30 to 34 per cent by the age of 40. For born between 1966 and 1980 (generation X) the pay gap increased from ten per cent at age 30 to 25 per cent by the age of 40.

Laura Gardiner, Senior Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Young women today face relatively little disadvantage in terms of their pay packets compared to what their parents’ and grandparents’ generation faced.

“But while many millennial women haven’t experienced much of a pay gap yet, most probably will once they reach their thirties, when they start having children. What’s more this pay penalty is big and long-lasting, and remains for younger generations despite the progress in early careers.

“As people continue to live and work for longer, it’s important that businesses, policy makers and civic society continue to focus on closing the gender pay gap at all ages, and for every generation.

“After all, small hourly pay gaps quickly grow into large lifetime pay penalties that can leave women hundreds of thousands of pounds worse off over the course of their careers.”


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