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.