Women in work – UK slides down PwC rankings

Published on 08 March 2013 0 comments

By Yong Jing Teow and John Hawksworth

CentredinternationalwomensdayTo mark International Women’s Day (8th March) new PwC research reveals women in the UK are less likely to be in full-time work and experience greater pay inequality than their counterparts in other developed countries.

Our new PwC Women in Work Index shows that the UK was ranked in 18th position out of a sample of 27 OECD countries in 2011 (see table below). This is based on a weighted average of five key indicators of female economic empowerment: the equality of earnings with men; the proportion of women in work both in absolute terms and relative to men; the female unemployment rate; and the proportion of women in full-time employment.

The Nordic countries have consistently remained in the lead. In 2011, Norway was in pole position, followed by Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand and Finland. Though the UK has seen improvements in performance across most indicators since 2000, it has fallen behind some other countries (the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Poland and Germany) that have made more significant gains since 2000. In particular, UK progress has almost stalled since 2007.

Rank
2000
Rank
2007
Rank
2011
Country Index
2000

Index
2007

Index
2011
1 1 1 Norway 76.3 79.2 81.3
2 3 2 Sweden 74.7 74.9 75.2
3 2 3 Denmark 72.5 78.7 73.9
6 4 4 New Zealand 62.8 70.3 69.7
5 5 5 Finland 63.7 68.6 68.8
8 6 6 Canada 56.3 65.2 66.1
10 11 7 Switzerland 54.0 60.8 63.6
12 12 8 Australia 51.2 60.7 62.7
4 9 9 Portugal 64.9 61.6 62.1
19 17 10 Netherlands 46.7 54.9 61.0
9 8 11 France 55.8 62.3 60.9
15 16 12 Austria 48.6 55.2 60.6
18 15 13 Belgium 46.8 56.0 59.9
16 13 14 Poland 48.2 57.2 59.4
17 21 15 Germany 47.5 51.4 59.3
11 7 16 Hungary 53.2 62.3 59.3
7 10 17 United States 60.0 61.4 58.8
13 14 18 United Kingdom 50.4 56.4 57.3
22 22 19 Israel 40.8 51.2 57.0
14 18 20 Czech Republic 49.9 52.7 53.5
26 19 21 Spain 26.5 52.5 53.0
21 20 22 Ireland 40.8 51.4 52.6
20 24 23 Slovak Republic 43.9 45.0 50.5
23 23 24 Italy 31.7 45.2 41.2
25 26 25 Japan 28.8 36.3 40.2
24 25 26 Greece 29.0 40.8 37.4
27 27 27 Korea 25.0 31.3 29.1
      Average 50.0 57.2 58.3

Source: PwC analysis of data from the OECD, Eurostat, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Statistics Bureau of Japan

The UK’s best-performing area in 2011 was the overall rate of female labour force participation. Its worst performing was the share of female employees in full-time jobs, which may adversely affect earnings, pensions and job security (although it could suit some women with caring roles). Norway’s strengths lie in its high female labour force participation and the low gender gap between female and male participation in the labour force.

One striking result from our research is that the UK’s progress has ground to a halt since the financial crisis, pushing the UK down to 18th position in the Women in Work Index in 2011, from 13th in 2000 and 14th in 2007. It seems that the recession has hit women particularly hard, especially with public sector job cuts disproportionately affecting women.

Our index makes clear that UK businesses and policymakers still need to do more to address the needs of female employees in areas like flexible working, childcare, female promotion pipelines and diversity goals. Only by putting diversity at the heart of the business and policy agendas can the UK truly harness the talent and skills of the fairer sex.

For more information on the PwC Women in Work Index, please visit:

http://www.pwc.co.uk/the-economy/publications/women-in-work-index.jhtml

Our Women at PwC blog discusses and debate the issues faced by women in the workplace, featuring contributions from inspirational women across the world. Join the conversation.

Yong Jing Teow:
Read profile | Contact by email | Tel: 020 7804 4257

John Hawksworth:
Read profile | Contact by email | Tel: 020 7213 1650


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