Yorkshire & Humber continue to be outpaced by other UK regions improving female economic empowerment

Women in work

●        Yorkshire & Humber ranked tenth place in the rankings of UK regions for female economic empowerment

●        Key challenges for the region are continuing high female unemployment and female full-time employment rates together with a decline in gender pay gap (19%).

●        Yorkshire & Humber has however seen improvements in both female labour force and the gap in male/female labour force participation rates.

●        The South West, Northern Ireland and Wales are the top performing UK regions, with all regions except Scotland improving their absolute score since last year.

●        Closing the gender pay gap across the OECD would increase total female earnings by US$2 trillion (£1.54 trillion). Female earnings in the UK would increase by £93 billion - a rise of 20%.

●        On average across the G7, women account for only 30% of the tech workforce, highlighting the need for businesses to improve opportunities for women in the sector.

Despite holding firm at 16th place, the UK is being outpaced by greater improvements in female employment prospects in other OECD countries, according to PwC’s latest Women in Work Index, which analyses female economic empowerment across 33 OECD countries. The top three countries in the Women in Work 2020 Index are Iceland, Sweden and Slovenia.

Although the UK performed above the OECD average and is second only to Canada when compared to other G7 economies, its position has barely budged since 2000 when it stood at 17th position. While this indicates slow progress, the UK charted improvements across all indicators of the Index, except the female participation rate, which fell marginally.

Encouragingly, regional inequalities in women’s employment across the UK are declining, with every region except Scotland improving their score since last year. The North East as well as East Midlands and the West Midlands achieved increases in their index score of over 12% since last year, mainly driven by broad-based improvements to gap in male/female labour force participation and full-time employment rates.

The South West unseated Scotland as the UK’s top region, improving on all indicators, notably the gender gap in labour force participation and the gender pay gap, while Northern Ireland jumped from 4th to 2nd. The West Midlands and London performed the poorest on the index due to poor female labour force participation and a high female unemployment rate. The latter fell three places to 12th, despite being the region that has achieved the most significant improvement in its index score since 2010, indicating that progress has stalled in the capital.

Overall, between 2017 to 2018, the OECD achieved incremental gains to female economic empowerment. Iceland and Sweden retained the top two positions for the fifth year in a row, with Slovenia in third. The Czech Republic experienced the biggest improvement in its ranking of all OECD countries, rising four places from 23rd to 19th, whereas Estonia and Ireland recorded the biggest decline. 

Jing Teow, economist at PwC commented:

“Although progress has been made across both the UK and OECD, the rate of improvement is still slow, despite the prospect of huge economic gains from increasing female participation in the workforce. Indeed both the OECD and UK would receive massive boosts to GDP amounting to US$6 trillion (£4.63 trillion) and £189 billion respectively if they could match the best performing country, Sweden. 

“In order for these gains to be realised, businesses and governments need to work together to help get more women into work and ensure that there is a fair and equal pay structure. It’s also crucial that women get the right opportunities to upskill in the face of increasing automation as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Women in technology

On average across the G7, women account for only 30% of the tech workforce, and even fewer women occupy the top echelons of tech companies. According to PwC’s Women in Technology Index, which is part of Women in Work, Canada is the best performing country within the G7 in terms of gender representation and equality in the tech sector, with France in second place.

The outlook is less rosy for the UK. In contrast to the main index, on which it is the second best performing country in the G7 and ranks in the top half of the OECD overall (16th), the UK is fifth out of the G7 in the Women in Technology Index. Its poor performance is driven by its worse than average performance on all indicators except the share of women on boards in the technology, media and telecoms (TMT) sector.

Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC UK, commented:

“Technology is front and centre for businesses and wider society, so it's vital we take steps to make the industry as inclusive as possible. It’s encouraging to see progress being made in opportunities for women across the UK as businesses invest across the country, but more needs to be done. 

“Long-term, targeted solutions will be vital in making changes sustainable. We know that in areas such as STEM women are under-represented. In order to build and sustain a pipeline of diverse talent, businesses need to work together to encourage girls at young ages through initiatives such as Tech She Can - a programme which inspires and educates young women to get into tech careers.”

The study also finds that AI and new technologies such as robotics, drones and driverless vehicles could displace jobs for women, but can also create new ones. Fewer female jobs are expected to be lost from automation relative to jobs lost for the male population in the OECD, but the gains from job creation are likely to be bigger for men than women. The health and social care sector, the largest employer of women in the OECD is expected to experience a net increase in female employment as a result of technology.

As workers are increasingly impacted by automation - a recent PwC global survey found that more than half of workers globally believe that automation will either significantly change or make their job obsolete within the next decade. It is therefore vital that governments and businesses work together to offer more training in digital skills and STEM subjects, and support retraining into other jobs in sectors where the “human touch” is crucial.

1.        For more information on the report please visit www.pwc.co.uk/womeninwork

2.       The five indicators that make up the Women in Work Index are: the gender pay gap, female labour force participation, the gap between male and female labour force participation, female unemployment and female full-time employment rate

3.       The G7 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

4.       For more information on the Tech She Can Charter please visit: https://www.pwc.co.uk/who-we-are/women-in-technology/tech-she-can-charter.html

5.       For more information on how automation will impact jobs please visit: https://www.pwc.co.uk/services/economics-policy/insights/the-impact-of-automation-on-jobs.html

6.       Fore more information about PwC’s New World. New Skills programme please visit: https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/upskilling.html

Women in Work Index rank

UK region

1

South West

2

Northern Ireland

3

Wales

4

Scotland

5

South East

6

East

7

North West

8

North East

9

East Midlands

10

Yorkshire & Humber

11

West Midlands

12

London

 

Women in Work Index rank

OECD country

1

Iceland

2

Sweden

3

Slovenia

4

New Zealand

5

Luxembourg

6

Norway

7

Denmark

8

Poland

9

Finald

10

Belgium

11

Canada

12

Australia

13

Switzerland

14

Ireland

15

Portugal

16

United Kingdom

17

Hungary

18

Netherlands

19

Czech Republic

20

United States

21

Germany

22

Israel

23

Estonia

24

France

25

Austria

26

Slovak Republic

27

Japan

28

Spain

29

Italy

30

Chile

31

Greece

32

Mexico

33

Korea




 

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