Women in work – UK slides down PwC rankings
08 March 2013
To 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.
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: