Women in Newcastle are paid 15.8% less than men as gender pay gap widens

Female wages left trailing way behind those of their male counterparts - despite a national trend which sees pay becoming more equal

Dave Thompson/PA Wire The gender pay gap in Newcastle has widened
The gender pay gap in Newcastle has widened

Newcastle’s gender pay gap has widened, leaving women in the city earning a huge 15.8% less than their male counterparts.

Latest government figures show how full-time working men in the city earned an average of £13.14 per hour in 2014.

But women who work the same hours were left trailing behind on just £11.06 per hour - £2.08 per hour less.

Nationally, the difference between the pay packets of men and women is shrinking but almost all of Tyne and Wear saw the disparity grow, according to the figures.

It means that men in the region earn, on average, almost £180 per week more than women.

Newcastle MP Central, Chi Onwurah was disappointed by the statistics - but said they prove women are being hit harder than men by the recession.

She said: “I think the jobs women have been working in the public sector have been cut, their hours have been reduced and the limited job opportunities available have disproportionately affected them. It’s causing real hardship.

“I know many women who no longer find it worthwhile to work due to an increase in childcare costs combined with the working tax credit which is making it harder to work for pay.

“When childcare costs can take up an entire salary and the salary is not going up because of public sector cuts and pay cuts, it makes it harder.”

She belives that part of the long term solution for building womens’ pay could involve opening up the most highly-paid sectors to more women.

She said: “One reason behind the pay gap is the absence of women in technical, IT and engineering roles that pay more.

“This is what I’m campaigning for - to see more women in these jobs.”

Chi Onwurah MP at her childhood home at Hillsview Avenue, Kenton
Chi Onwurah MP at her childhood home at Hillsview Avenue, Kenton

The Office for National Statistics data showed that Newcastle’s gender pay gap had risen 0.2% from 15.6% in 2013 - meaning the city has the largest gap in the region.

But almost every area across Tyne and Wear saw pay gaps widen - except for in North Tyneside where it narrowed to 3.3%.

The average difference in pay for men and women in the region is 7.9%. In Gateshead, the pay gap is 3.3%, in Sunderland it is 3.7% and in South Tyneside, 13%.

TUC regional secretary Beth Farhat said: “The last ONS report showed that female unemployment had gone up again. That has been a worrying trend that has continued to increase.

“We’ve seen over 60,000 public sector job losses in the North East many of which would’ve been women’s jobs.

“The work that they do will be low paid because of the inability to get quality pay.”

But she said the solution to the problem was increasing wages for everyone, not capping men’s pay.

“If wage growth remained at its pre-recession rate, North East workers would be £3,000 per year better off,” she said.

“Ordinary households are also not sharing in the recovery and are now facing their seventh consecutive year of real wage cuts.

“In the North East we know over a quarter of a million workers are receiving less than the living wage and that does concern me.

“This is why we’ve been campaigning for employers to pay a living wage.”

Nationally, the gender pay gap fell from 10% in 2013 to 9.4% in 2014 - the smallest gap between men and women since 1997.

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