Women In Work Index

International Women's Day

Getting more women into work could bring the UK £170bn of economic benefits


New research shows that the UK is missing out on up to £170bn worth of economic benefits by not having enough females in employment. PwC’s annual Women in Work Index shows that the UK could boost its GDP by 9% (£170bn) if it could increase the number of women in work to match that of Sweden, the highest performing country. 

The research shows that the main area where the UK underperforms is the low share of women in full-time employment. The UK performs below the OECD average and ranks in 30th place out of 33 countries on this indicator.

The index shows that although the UK’s overall female employment rate is higher than the OECD average, many women are struggling to return to work after having children or career breaks. The number of mothers in work in the UK lags behind Sweden and is slightly behind the OECD average (66.6% in the UK, versus 83% in Sweden and 66.8% OECD average) and ONS data show that there are 1.5m women in the UK who want to work more hours than they currently do.


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“It is encouraging that the UK is making progress on the employment prospects for women, but there is still a way to go before we match the Nordic countries. There are now more women in work due to the improving economy - but where we fall down is on how many of these women are in full-time work"

Explore the data: click on the country or year for full results

  • 2000
  • 2007
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
    Gender wage gap
    Shortfall of female relative to male median wages
    Female boardroom representation
    * showing figures for 2009
    Composition of female and male populations
    %of the total male or female population
    • Full time employment
    • Part-time employment
    • Unemployment
    • Outside labour force
    Closing the gender wage gap
    % increase for women's wages
    USD bn increase in female wages
    GDP impacts of increasing female employment rates to Swedish levels
    % increase in GDP
    USD bn increase in GDP

    Contact us

    John Hawksworth
    Chief Economist
    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7213 1650

    Yong Jing Teow
    Tel: +44 (0) 207 804 4257