Average annual earnings for full-time employees in the UK rose to £25,170 in April 2003, according to the latest New Earnings Survey from analysts Incomes Data Services (IDS), with the pay gap between men and women decreasing by one per cent.
The gender gap, measured by comparing the average hourly earnings of full-time male and female employees, excludes overtime, because men work more overtime than women.
Based on this measure, average hourly earnings were £10.56 for women and £12.88 for men, making womenís earnings 82 per cent of menís. The gap has closed by a full percentage point since 2002 and now stands at its narrowest since the Survey started in 1970.
Last year the gender gap widened, largely as a result of the very high earnings of the top paid men in the finance sector in the City of London. But with City bonuses lower in the first months of 2003 than in 2002, the Ďhigher earnerí effect was much reduced.
Lower earnings growth in the private sector and higher earnings growth in the public sector would also help to reduce the gender gap because of the higher proportion of women in the public sector.
The Survey also shows that the largest narrowing of the gender gap was in the South East, where the gap closed by 3.4 percentage points in the year to April 2003.
Average gross annual earnings for full-time women rose above £20,000 for the first time to stand at £20,314, compared to £28,065 for men. Full-time female employees saw an increase in annual earnings of 0.5 per cent more than that for men (3.5 per cent, compared to 3.0 per cent).
Average gross weekly earnings of all full-time employees on adult rates working a full week in April 2003 was £476. The median was £394 a week.
The average for men was £525 (an increase of 2.2 per cent on the previous year), and the average for women was £396 (up 3.3 per cent). The average working week for full-time employees was 39.6 hours, of which 1.6 hours consisted of paid overtime.