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Women face double discrimination of age and gender bias

The gender pay gap increases with age and is at its widest for the over 50s, new research finds.


According to research from Rest Less, a membership community for the over 50s, the median annual salary of women working full-time in their 50s was 23 percent less than the median full-time salary of men in the same age group, with women in their 60s earning 25 percent less.


Rest Less analysed the 2020 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings data from the Office of National Statistics.


The research found that the median annual salary of a female full-time employee in 2020 was £27,981 compared with £33,923 for men – a difference of £5,942 and representing 18 percent less.


It also found that both women and men reach their peak earnings during their 40s when their median annual incomes were £31,403 and £38,829 respectively – equating to a gap of £7,426 and women taking home an annual salary which was nearly one fifth (19 percent) less than men.


Women’s median full-time salaries dropped on average by nine percent from their peak earnings in their 40s to their 50s and the median earnings for women working full-time in their 60s was 24 percent lower than the median earnings for women in their 40s. By contrast, the median salary of men in their 50s was five percent lower than those of men in their 40s and for men working full-time in their 60s, their median salary was 19 percent lower than those in their 40s.


Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less, said: “Women in their 50s and 60s face the double discrimination of age bias combined with the widest gender pay gap of all ages, receiving a salary of £8,000 less per year than their male counterparts in full-time employment.


“Whilst the state pension age has now been equalised at 66 for both sexes, decades of a gender pay gap and the resulting wide gulf in private pension savings mean that the future retirement incomes of men and women remain far from equal.


“The fact that earnings peak in our 40s and decline as we head into our 50s and 60s has profound implications for all of us and our retirement savings plans. We can no longer rely on bigger salaries in the years before we retire to fund our pensions, and instead need to consider the most efficient ways to save for retirement from an early age.”

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