In light of the recent scrapped government menopausal leave trial, it has become apparent that women continue to face barriers to progression in the UK workforce. This in combination with ongoing disparities in male and female pay, it is likely that women will seek out industries that treat them more fairly.
With this in mind, digital PR consultants Reboot sought to determine the industries that women are paid the least and most, compared to men. They did so by calculating gender pay gap differences based on the average gross hourly pay of men and women, using the latest data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
- Out of the twenty sectors analysed, there are just three industries whereby women receive higher pay than men. These are activities of households as employers of domestic personnel, construction, mining and quarrying.
- In 80% of industries, men are paid more than women – the highest of this being the real estate industry whereby men are paid 31.12% more than women.
- A quarter of industries pay men over 20% more than women.
- There were zero industries whereby men and women are paid equally, however the sector that had the closest to equal pay with a 0.98% pay difference is ‘Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies’. This includes activities of international organisations, such as the IMF, the World Bank, the UN.
Industries that women are paid the least, compared to men
|Industry||Pay gap (%)|
|Real estate activities||-31.12%|
|Information and communication||-26.07%|
|Financial and insurance activities||-22.81%|
|Accommodation and food service activities||-21.82%|
|Public administration and defence; compulsory social security||-19.59%|
|Administrative and support service activities||-19.17%|
|Professional, scientific and technical activities||-17.19%|
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||-17.15%|
|Human health and social work activities||-13.37%|
For a quarter of the industries analysed, men get paid at least 20% more than women. These are real estate activities, IT, Education, financial and insurance activities. The industry that has the biggest gender pay gap is ‘real estate activities’, whereby women receive a whopping 31.12% less than men. This sector is described as Activities of real estate investment trusts which includes buying, selling and renting own real estate.
There are great gender disparities within the IT industry since women represent just 30.31% of the workforce and there is a severe imbalance on male and female pay – with women getting paid 26.07% less than men. The education sector, whereby women represent 69.71% of the workforce, has a shocking 25.82% gender pay difference. The financial sector has a much more equal balance of female to male representation, with women representing 44.04% of the workforce, yet women are still paid a whopping 22.81% less than men.
Industries that women are paid the most, compared to men
|Industry||Pay gap (%)|
|Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel||+36.94%|
|Mining and quarrying||+9.64%|
The industry with the best pay for women compared to men is Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel, with a whopping 36.94% pay increase compared to men. This industry includes jobs such as maids, cooks, gardeners and babysitters – and women represent 72.31% of the workforce. Following this is the construction, mining and quarrying industries whereby women are also paid more than men, on average. In the construction industry, it is unsurprising that females represent just 14.66% of workers, but what is surprising is that women get paid 17.68% more than men on average. Tasmyn Brittain, who works in construction provided some comments on her experiences working in the industry:
“I chose construction as there were very few women within the industry so I wanted to be able to break that barrier, and also knew that within the construction industry there is plenty of space to move up the ranks and learn as much as possible. However, there is a slight surprise if I turn up on a building site – most men seem taken aback to see a woman on site in full PPE. I’m definitely outnumbered in the office in terms of women versus men. A lot of the women in construction, or at least my place of work tend to be in admin or HR roles, rather than physically working in the factories or on site.”
Industries that have the worst female representation
|Industry||Female representation (%)|
|Transportation and storage||21.54%|
|Mining and quarrying||25.14%|
|Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply||25.18%|
|Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities||26.79%|
|Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies||27.72%|
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||28.73%|
|Information and communication||30.31%|
|Financial and insurance activities||44.04%|
As well as the gender pay gap being a barrier to female success, there are major disparities in female representation across industries. In eight of the twenty industries analysed, less than 30% of the workforce are women. The industries with the worst female representation (%) are the construction, transport and storage, and mining and quarrying industries.