Report for the Economic Research Unit, Welsh Assembly Government
Enormous changes have taken place in the labour market during the last four decades. The number of women in the labour market has increased dramatically, with the greatest increase in labour market participation found amongst married women. The composition of the labour force changed over this period as the jobs in male-intensive
industries declined and the proportion in clerical and service sectors has increased. Nevertheless, a huge degree of occupational segregation still persists and women still
earn on average substantially less than men. Female employees working full-time in the UK earn on average 17.1 per cent less than the average hourly earnings of fulltime
employees. The EOC (1991) Equal Pay Task Force found,
three main contributors to the pay gap: occupational segregation, the unequal impact of women’s family responsibilities and pay discrimination… Employment in the UK remains strongly delineated by gender involving both “horizontal” and “vertical” segregation. Horizontal segregation crowds women into female-dominated occupations and industries and limits their access to the broader range of maledominated areas of economic activity. Vertical segregation limits career development that would enable women to earn more.