UK Edition

Women, Work, and the State of Wage Inequality UK Report

It’s been almost half a century since the Equal Pay Act was passed, and six years since the Equality Act that superseded it. Despite this legislation — which made it illegal for men and women to be paid differently for doing the same work — a significant wage gap continues to exist between genders in the UK and around the world. And the issue doesn’t stop at equal pay. British women are still less likely to make it into the boardroom or be promoted than their male counterparts. Equal Pay Day, an event that’s become widely recognised across the globe, marks the day that women stop earning relative to men based on the national gender wage gap. Its aim is to drive discussion around how we can tackle this issue together and finally even the playing field. In support of the UK’s Equal Pay Day, Hired set out to analyze its massive salary data set across gender, location, role and company type. Because Hired candidates set a preferred salary and all interview requests made by companies on the platform include compensation details, Hired has unprecedented visibility into the salaries that men and women ask for and what companies, in turn, offer them. The data in this report was pulled from an analysis of more than 10,000 offers across approximately 3,000 candidates and 750 companies on Hired’s UK platform. By publishing these findings, our hope is to encourage open conversation and debate around this issue. We want to encourage employers to reflect on their own compensation policies and identify possible issues of gender bias that may be present within their organizations. We also want to provide data that empowers everyone to ask for their market worth and help them achieve it. The wage gap won’t disappear overnight, but with information like this to hand we can work together to make a difference for the future.

How the UK's wage gap ranks globally

Across the UK, women are paid an average of 13.9% less than their male counterparts, and while the gap is lower in the technology sector, it definitely still exists. In fact, our data revealed that the median salary of women working in tech is 9% less than the men they work alongside. This is the equivalent of £5,000 a year in salary terms. In comparing this number to other tech hubs around the world, unfortunately what we found is that the UK leads the countries on our list, with the US coming closely behind at 8%. Australia had the lowest gap at 5%, followed by Canada at 7%.

Wage gap by country

Technical roles see the largest gap

Technical roles see the largest gap

To better understand how the gender wage gap plays out across different roles, we looked at women in the fields of software engineering and tech sales. Sales has long been seen as a male-dominated profession, a perception that finds footing in our data. Women working in tech sales are offered roles with a median salary of 5% less than their male counterparts. In software engineering the problem deepens: women are offered 9% less than their male colleagues, the equivalent of nearly five weeks’ wages.

Wage gap by role

Technical roles see the largest gap

Wage gap is highest at mid-sized companies

Drilling down further, we looked at our data to see how the wage gap plays out across companies of different sizes. What we found is that the gender pay gap is the worst at mid-sized companies. Companies with 200 or less employees or more than 1000 employees tend to have a wage gap that is near or less than the industry average of 9%, while companies that have between 201-1000 employees have nearly double that, at 17%. A possible hypothesis for this is that these companies aren’t big enough to be subject to regulation like larger companies, but they are too big to have the same level of transparency across all hiring managers and divisions that a smaller company has. Another interesting finding is that in addition to greater wage equality, women in the UK are likely to make more money at larger organizations.

Salary offer by company size

Salary offer by company size

The Expectation Gap

One of the unique features of Hired’s data is that we’re able to quantify not only the wage gap between women and men, but also how much women ask for relative to their male colleagues, which we’ve dubbed “the expectation gap.” In looking specifically at software engineering salaries, we see some unfortunate trends. Entry-level (<2 years) men outearn their female counterparts by 7%, increasing to 10% for men and women with between 2-6 years of experience, and ultimately reaching a staggering 31% for individuals with more than six years’ experience. This, in turn, has an impact on the salaries that women request. Women with less than six years of experience ask for roughly the same salary as their male counterparts; however, as they reach six or more years of experience, they ask for 18% less. The fact that women lower their expectations over the course of their careers after receiving lower salaries than the men they work alongside underscores the importance of ensuring equal pay early on.

Preferred and final salaries

Preferred and final salaries

Offers increase with expectations

When male and female candidates in the UK ask for the same salary, the wage gap almost disappears, which is similar to the findings of our US report. So, one of the most important conclusions from this report is that women who know their worth in the interview and job searching process can command a salary on par with men. That said, companies play an equally important role in this process, and should consider employing a data-based approach to compensation that determines salary based on an individual’s market worth and not their previous — and possibly biased — salary. Company-wide salary audits and regular training to ensure that there is no unconscious bias in the pay and promotion process are also good ways to close the wage gap.

Preferred salary vs. offer salary by gender

Final thoughts

A recent Deloitte study highlighted that at the current pace of change, the pay gap will not be eliminated until 2069. For context, not only is that more than half a century away, but it’s also nearly a century after the Equal Pay Act of 1970 was introduced. At Hired, we think 50 years is too long to wait, especially when we have the power to change this now. We want to be part of the solution by sharing much needed insight for both women and the companies that employ them. Our hope is that by sharing data of this kind, we’ll bring attention to this issue, encourage companies to investigate their compensation policies and empower women to ask for their market worth.

We hope you'll join us



This report is based on proprietary information gathered and analysed by Hired’s Insights Manager, Dr. Jessica Kirkpatrick. Hired does not collect demographic data such as gender from UK candidates so the analysis in this study was done using a classifier that identified the gender of the candidate based on their first name. In addition, Kirkpatrick cross-analysed the results of the name classifier with the pronouns used in the letters of recommendation submitted by candidates through the Hired platform. Only data from candidates with unambiguous gender classifications were used in this report. The data in this report was pulled from an analysis of more than 10,000 offers across approximately 3,000 candidates and 750 companies on Hired’s UK platform.

About Hired

At Hired we believe we are entering a new era of work, where people are not looking for jobs — they are seeking opportunities. Hired is The Opportunity Network. Starting with in-demand technology, sales, and marketing roles, we intelligently match outstanding people to fulltime and freelance opportunities at the world’s most innovative companies. By taking the pain out of the job search, we help people build purpose-driven careers and businesses find the talent to fulfill their missions. Ultimately, we want to empower everyone to find and do their best work, from one opportunity to the next. Hired is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in cities across North America and Europe, and plans to expand into new geographies, industries and job categories. For more information, news and tips for candidates and employers, visit Hired’s blog.