The gender pay gap in the UK will not close until 2069 unless action is taken to tackle it now.
According to analysis by Deloitte, the difference in hourly pay between men and women is closing at 2.5 pence a year. At this rate, the gap will not close for another 53 years.
Even in professions dominated by women, such as teaching and care providing, men receive considerably higher pay. In occupations such as skilled trades, the gap is actually widening.
The difference in starting salaries between men and women that have studied science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, and have gone on to take roles in those industries are significantly smaller.
Emma Codd, managing partner for talent at Deloitte said: “There are many factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. One of these occurs before entering the workforce, when boys and girls decide what to study at school and university.
“Starting at GCSE level, where three times more boys than girls take computing and 50 percent more boys than girls study design and technology, these early decisions drive fundamental skill differences between the genders for those entering the workplace. The trend is likely to continue unless it is addressed now.”
While this may initially address the salary discrepancy for those entering the workplace, it is also the role of businesses to provide role models for young women entering work, so that the gap can be closed in other industries.
Codd added: “While educators and policy makers will need to focus on tackling this challenge, the impact that employers can make should not be under-estimated.
“Whether it is providing educators and policymakers with practical insights into career requirements, giving students access to mentors in the STEM professions, or ensuring that the workplace is an environment where women can build successful careers, each business has a part to play. A great deal of progress has been made in the past half century, but we should not wait another 53 years for full parity.”