Gender pay gap widens in Ludlow area as women’s wages fall

New data released by the Office of National Statistics today show a general improvement in wages across the south of Shropshire. But women’s wages are falling.

Men’s pay has gone up. Women’s pay has gone down. Men in the Ludlow area earn about £2 an hour above the national average. Women work for a rate that is around £2 below the national average.

The gender pay gap is reducing nationally, albeit slowly, but here in the Ludlow constituency it is widening.

Basic pay in the Ludlow constituency is up 9.3% over the last year. That is well above the national rise of 3.4%. Over the last three years, the median wage here has leapt by £67 a week. We now trail the national average (median) wage of £425 a week by just £30.

This increase is partly due to increases in the minimum wage but there also seems to be general rise in pay rates in the Ludlow area. This good news for everyone here. With signs that inflation is rising, we need to keep wages at a decent level.

But there is a downside to these statistics. Nationally women’s wages grew by 4.5% last year. Here in Ludlow, they fell by 5.6%. That means that women in the Ludlow constituency earn just £231 a week, £112 lower than the national average.

Men who are working full time in this area put in an average (median) of 38.5 hours a week, down 1.2 hours over the last year.[1] Women working full time are down 0.3 hours in the last twelve months to 37.4 hours. Not much change there. The big difference is among women working part time. They work an average (median) of 16 hours a week, down 12.7 hours on last year. That’s a lot.[2]

When we look at hourly pay, men in the Ludlow constituency are earning an average (mean) £19.01, an increase of 8.1% over the year. Women earn £12.21, a decrease of 1.3% in the last 12 months.

Men here earn on average around £2 above the national average of £17.06. Women nationally earn an average of £14.11. So here in Ludlow, women trail nearly £2 behind the national rate.

The statistics released today suggest women with part-time jobs in the Ludlow area are working fewer hours. This could reflect local businesses doing less trade.

Men who are working full time in this area put in an average (median) of 38.5 hours a week, down 1.2 hours over the last year.[3]

Women working part time make a significant contribution to household income. Women working full time are down 0.3 hours in the last twelve months to 37.4 hours. Not much change there. The big difference is among women working part time. They work an average (median) of 16 hours a week, down 12.7 hours on last year. That’s a lot.[4]

Unemployment in the Ludlow constituency is low but the number of claimants has grown by 21% over the last year. That’s another worrying sign that businesses in the area might not be doing as well.

There are potential storm clouds ahead. No one knows what impact Brexit will have on local jobs but a lot of local businesses rely on exports to European markets. Trade rules after Brexit could make sales to EU countries harder. We will need to keep a very careful eye on the health of our local economy.

Notes

[1]. There is no data for men working part time because the sample size was too small.

[2]. The annual survey of wages and earnings is based on a sample. It is subject to error year on year.

[3]. There is no data for men working part time because the sample size was too small.

[4]. The annual survey of wages and earnings (ASHE) is based a sample, so is subject to error year on year.