Men in South Yorkshire 'earn £2.33 more per hour than women'

Women in Sheffield earn on average 2.18 an hour less than men
Women in Sheffield earn on average 2.18 an hour less than men
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Men in South Yorkshire earn on average £2.33 more per hour than women, new research has shown.

The biggest gender pay gap in the region is in Barnsley, where female workers get £2.91 an hour, or 24.3 per cent, less than their male colleagues, and the smallest divide is in Sheffield, where the difference is still £2.18 an hour, or 17 per cent.

That's according to figures published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has called for action to end dramatic wage disparities affecting women, ethnic minority workers and disabled people.

All jobs should be advertised as available for flexible working, and greater support must be given to fathers to play a greater role in child care, it says.

Those are among the plans for a serious shake-up to level the paying field, which are set out in the organisation's new strategy 'Fair opportunities for all'.

It says offering flexible working hours for all jobs will reduce the barriers faced by women and disabled people, who are more likely to need them, while giving fathers extra paid paternity leave will reduce the 'motherhood penalty' experienced by many women in the workplace.

Caroline Waters, deputy chair of the commission, said: "We need new ideas to bring down pay gaps – it’s not just about more women at the top. Yes, female representation is important but tackling pay gaps is far more complicated than that. While there has been some progress, it has been painfully slow. We need radical change now otherwise we’ll be having the same conversation for decades to come.

“The pay gaps issue sits right at the heart of our society and is a symbol of the work we still need to do to achieve equality for all. Subject choices and stereotypes in education send children of all genders, abilities, and racial backgrounds on set paths.

"These stereotypes are then reinforced throughout the workplace in recruitment, pay and progression. For this to change, we need to overhaul our culture and make flexible working the norm; looking beyond women as the primary caregivers and having tough conversations about the biases that are rife in our workforce and society."

To highlight the need for change, the commission analysed the Government's 2016 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings to highlight the huge disparities existing.

As well as revealing the regional pay gap, its research shows the differences in wages nationally between people from different ethnic backgrounds and those with disabilities.

For example, a man with difficulty in seeing can expect to earn nearly 28 per cent less than someone who is fully sighted, and a British-born Bangladeshi man is paid on average 22.5 per cent less than a white British man.