Female employees in the United Kingdom were paid on average 19.7% less than males in 2013 (Eurostat database). What are the reasons behind this number? The picture is complex because many factors affect the gender pay gap in different ways. Besides the employment situation, it is especially important to take structural determinants into account.
The structure of the labour force in a country can have an impact on the gender pay gap. For example, if females are employed to a large extent, and if this also holds for females with a relatively low level of education, this can be connected with the size of the gender pay gap. Therefore, looking at the employment situation in the United Kingdom, especially the employment rate of females should be of some relevance.
According to Eurostat, this rate totals 65.8% (in 2013) and is above average for the EU-28 (58.8%). Looked at in more detail, females with a relatively low education are over-represented in the labour market compared to the average of the EU-28. Females with less than primary, primary or a lower secondary education have an employment rate of 45.1% (2013), one of the highest rates in the European Union. The latter also holds true for part-time employment of females in the United Kingdom, which was 41.5% in 2013. Because these findings can only serve as a first indication to explain the size of the gender pay gap, it is essential to look at the structural determinants.