UK’s gender pay gap continues to fall but pay parity remains out of reach, according to PwC research

  • Press Release
  • 03 Jun 2024
  • The mean gender pay gap has seen a decrease of 0.4% in the past year, from 12.2% in 2022/23 to 11.8% in 2023/24, a more modest reduction than the previous year

  • Almost 60% of organisations reported decreases in their pay gaps this year, albeit by modest amounts

  • Despite the fall, the overall gender pay gap has only reduced by 1.6% since 2017, meaning gender pay parity remains out of sight for a 21 year old woman entering the workforce today

  • The financial services sector continues to report the biggest gender pay gaps, but it has also shown the greatest reduction on the previous year 

The overall UK gender pay gap has fallen 0.4% in the past year, according to PwC research. Among UK companies that disclose their mean hourly gender pay gap there has been a decrease from 12.2% in 2022/23 to 11.8% in 2023/24. The analysis also shows the median hourly pay gap has decreased marginally from 9.2% in 2022/23 to 9.1% in 2023/24.

Whilst the UK gender pay gap continues to reduce each year, the rate of change remains modest. Since the introduction of mandatory UK gender pay gap reporting in 2017 for companies with over 250 employees, the mean gender pay gap has only fallen by 1.6% from 13.4% in 2017. Gender pay parity therefore remains out of sight for a 21 year old woman entering the workforce today and the analysis suggests it will take over 45 years to close the gender pay gap in the UK. 

PwC analysis shows that of the companies that have disclosed their pay gaps for both 2023/24 and 2022/23, almost 60% reported that their pay gap had decreased compared with the previous year.  However, the majority of these reductions were less than 2%. This is a slight increase in comparison to 2022/23, where 53.7% of organisations reported decreases to their mean pay gap. 

Overall, 20.1% of organisations reported no change or an increase between 0% and 2% to their pay gap, compared with 17.6% in 2022/23.  The pace of change is indicative of companies still struggling to close the pay gap, which can often be a lagging indicator, with positive actions to improve gender representation taking years to significantly impact these figures. 

Katy Bennett, diversity, inclusion and equity consulting director at PwC comments;

“Whilst the gender pay gap continues to move in the right direction, the data once again highlights that organisations are facing difficulties in meaningfully reducing reporting figures. Societal barriers play a strong part but there are still things businesses can do to drive change and so it is critical for organisations to truly understand gender pay gap drivers and take targeted actions to address them.

“The global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting landscape is evolving rapidly and many organisations are increasing their focus on pay fairness and transparency, as well as pay gap and diversity reporting, including beyond gender. It is now more important than ever for organisations to take a step back to fully understand the state of pay fairness and diversity within their workforce. By truly understanding any barriers that exist within the workforce and embracing pay transparency, organisations can navigate the reporting landscape and use it as a way to shape their narrative, as opposed to letting it dictate it.”

Sector overview

The Financial Services sector continues to report the biggest gender pay gaps, reflective of the ongoing issues with gender equality within the sector, where potential regulations on diversity and inclusion may be introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority later this year. Whilst the Financial Services sector has consistently reported the highest pay gaps, it has also reported the biggest decreases in pay gaps compared to the previous year, alongside the Travel and Technology sectors. As with 2022/23, Public Administration, Health, Hospitality and Leisure continue to be the sectors with the lowest mean hourly pay gaps. 

Organisation size

Large organisations with more than 20,000 employees generally had the lowest mean hourly pay gaps each year. Smaller organisations display higher levels of volatility in the mean pay gaps, where a single employee can have a more significant impact on overall average pay due to the smaller overall employee population. In 2023/24, we can see the mean pay gap has decreased for organisations of all sizes, excluding the largest, which have marginally increased by 0.1%. 


Notes to Editors: 

The full PwC report on the gender pay gap in 2024 is here. Data has been sourced from the Government website after the 4 April 2024 deadline. The data set includes all companies which have uploaded their Gender Pay Gap information regardless of whether it was a legal reporting requirement or a voluntary disclosure. The median gender pay gap is calculated by businesses ranking all their people by their pay and comparing what the female in the middle of the female pay range received with what the male in the middle of the male pay range received. The difference between the two figures is the median gender pay gap. The mean gender pay gap is calculated by companies adding together all the hourly pay rates that females receive, divided by the number of females in the workforce, and the same for males. The difference between these figures is the mean gender pay gap.


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