The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that the gender pay gap has fallen to a record-breaking low. In the year to April 2018, the gap was at 8.6%. This is down from 9.1% the previous year. These statistics are based on the median difference in full-time hourly pay.

Despite the record low, campaigners have deemed the rate of improvement too slow.

The gender pay gap was the first figure released since Britain’s top employers were made to reveal their data.

In September, the UK government revealed it would launch a review of the obstacles faced by women in business.

The TUC union has insisted that ministers must truly pressure employers in order to see real change. General secretary, Frances O’Grady, commented:

“Working women won’t be celebrating this negligible decrease in the gender pay gap.”

“At this rate, another generation of women will spend their whole working lives waiting to be paid the same as men.”

“Companies shouldn’t just be made to publish their gender pay gaps, they should be legally required to explain how they’ll close them, and bosses who flout the law should be fined.”

Roger Smith, the Senior ONS earnings statistician, put together the wage statistics for the 2017-2018 year:

“Average weekly pay for full-time employees is now increasing at its fastest since the financial crisis, in cash terms, with hourly pay rising fastest among lower-paid occupations.”

“However, after taking account of inflation, earnings are still only where they were in 2011, and have not yet returned to pre-downturn levels.”

“The gender pay gap fell to 8.6% on our headline measure, its lowest ever. But it isn’t the same for everyone – it’s close to zero for employees aged under 40, but widens for those who are older.”

Earlier in October, we revealed that the reporting of the ethnicity pay gap may become mandatory. This was as a result of an audit demonstrating large differences in pay and promotion opportunities for ethnic minorities.