30 Jan 2015 11:06am

Men's pay fell further than women's during recession

Earnings have fallen in real terms since the beginning of the financial crisis but by less for women than men

According to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), men’s earnings have fallen by 7.3% since 2008 compared to 2.5% for women. This, it says, is probably because women are significantly more likely to work for the public sector than men and the public sector has suffered smaller earnings falls than the private sector.

The IFS also found that falls in earnings for the low-paid were smaller than for those on higher pay.

Overall, median hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, were still 4.7% lower at the end of 2014 than in 2008, while real median weekly earnings have fallen even more (by 5.9%) because of the rise in the “relative prevalence of part-time work”.

The research also shows that older workers have done far better than younger ones, especially in the over 60s bracket. Their median real hourly pay is now back to its 2008 level whereas for those aged 22-29 the level is 9% lower.

There is good news though on the horizon as real earnings growth appears to be returning. The IFS says that average weekly earnings rose last year between September and November by 1.7% in nominal terms compared with the same period in 2013.

“Together with rapid falls in inflation (RPIJ inflation fell to 1% in December 2014), this suggests the return of real earnings growth, and official forecasts suggest continued real earnings growth in 2015-16,” it says.

The research is taken from a chapter in the IFS’s Green Budget 2015 which is due to be released next Wednesday. The publication is produced by IFS in association with ICAEW.

Julia Irvine


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