Women in their 50s earn nearly a fifth less than men of the same age – the widest gender pay gap of any age group.

TUC analysis of the pay and jobs of women over the age of 50 shows that despite a dramatic rise in the number of women working past 50, low pay and pensioner poverty remain major concerns for them as they approach retirement.

A woman in her 50s working full-time currently earns £11.99 per hour – 18 per cent less hour than a man of a similar age (£14.69). This compares to a 10 per cent gender pay gap across the workforce as a whole. Women in their 50s also earn less than women in their 30s (£14.17) and 40s (£12.93).

Full-time earnings only tell half the story, with half all women over 50 employed in part-time work. The average hourly part-time wage for a woman in her 50s is just £8.53 – a third less than the average full-time wage across the UK workforce (£12.76). The majority of women over 50 in part-time work earn less than £10,000 a year.

Part-time work is often the only option available for many older women who also have to look after loved ones, either their grandchildren or their own parents, or who may no longer be able to work long hours. Most of these women earn less than £10,000 a year, barely enough to live on, let alone save for their retirement.

The TUC analysis shows that older women have seen the fastest jobs growth in the last two decades. In 1992, the majority of women over 50 were not active in the labour market. Today, just 37 per cent of females over 50 are economically inactive, while three in five are in work.

As the workforce ages, it’s essential that people are able to work part-time hours without having to give up decent pay. Most of us will have caring responsibilities at some point in our lives and it’s not right that looking after loved ones still has such as a damaging affect on women’s pay and career prospects.

But while rising employment rates for older women is good news, it’s a real concern that a lack of good quality, part-time work means that many working women are still struggling to save enough for their retirement, despite working for longer than ever.


Posted on March 10th, 2013 by Gemma Tumelty filed under: Blog, Work

One Response to Gender pay gap twice as large for women in their 50s

  1. Comment made by admin on Mar 4th 2013 at 4:20 pm: