Mothers in part-time jobs suffer particularly from the gender ‘pay penalty', according to latest research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Its study Wage progression and the gender wage gap: the causal impact of hours of work was compiled on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and explored the reasons for the gender pay gap still standing at around 20%. While it found many reasons for the scale and persistence of this gap, it stated that an important factor is that mothers spend less time in paid work, and more time working part time, than fathers.
‘About a quarter of [the] wage gap is explained by the higher propensity of the mothers to have been in part-time rather than full-time paid work while that child was growing up, and the consequent lack of wage progression,’ the report stated.
The research therefore highlighted a ‘striking’ issue generally with part-time work, with these workers typically missing out on year-on-year pay rises and promotion opportunities. It emphasised that this affects women disproportionately because the vast majority of part-time workers are women, especially mothers of young children.
About a further tenth of this pay penalty is explained by mothers' higher propensity to have taken time out of the labour market altogether, the study added. It stated that 20 years after the birth of their first child, a woman’s hourly wage will be on average 30% lower than the hourly wage of a man with a similar level of education.
The penalty particularly affects graduates ‘because they are the women for whom continuing in full-time paid work would have led to the most wage progression,’ the report found.