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State of the Region 2020 Full Report

5. Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

There are significant pay gaps between males and females within the WMCA and as the UK as a whole. The average full-time annual wage for a male in the WMCA stood at £32,335 in 2019, while in the full-time annual wage for females was £24,462, leading to a gap of £7,873 within the WMCA. The UK has a gap of £6,108 where male full-time earn on average £32,882 and females earn £26,774. When compared to 2018, the average male earnings have increased by 1.5% (+£492) which is a much slower growth rate when compared to the 4.4% (+£1,036) increase for female earnings in the WMCA. 

The overall employment rate for females in the WMCA was 66.9% (865,100) while for men this was 77.9% (1,004,900) in 2019. However, when compared to 2018, the overall employment rate for females has increased by 1.1pp, with the male employment rate increasing at a slower rate of 0.4pp. 

When split into part-time and full-time employment rates, in the WMCA, there were 38.4% (331,800) of females in employment working part time in 2019, this has decreased by 0.2pp since 2018, the UK average was 39.4% which has decreased by 0.7pp. While, 9.2% (92,600) of males in the WMCA in employment working part time, this has decreased by 0.6pp when compared to 2018. In contrast the UK experienced a slight increase from 11.2% in 2018 to 11.2% in 2019. 

In 2019, there were 61.5% (531,900) of females in employment working full time in the WMCA, this has increased by 0.2pp since 2018, the UK average was 60.5% which has increased by 0.8pp. There were 90.4% (908,400) of males in the WMCA in employment working full time, this has decreased by 0.4pp when compared to 2018, while the UK has remained the same at 88.6%. 

Income Inequality Research Case Study

In 2019, the Office for Data Analytics carried out work looking at the gaps in data and evidence in the region. This mapping and gapping exercise developed a number of use case opportunities, which were prioritised one of which was better understanding of inequality. As part of addressing this we have started looking at income inequality through an analysis of HMRC data for the West Midlands region, including gender inequalities. Initial findings show:

  • 72% of people have a total income below the regional so 7 out of 10 are below the average of £23,200 (national average £24,400)
  • The West Midlands is the 5th most unequal region measured by the GINI index
  • Men are wealthier than women. However at lower income there is far greater equality, disparity happens at the higher income levels where 8 out of 10 of the richest people are men. But there is more inequality within the income distribution of men than between genders and inequality between males contributes more to overall inequality. 
  • This is largely because of wider income opportunities for men, through better pensions, financial investments and property earnings. Also the sectors that men and women work in affect their ability to earn at equal levels, but there is also great income inequality within sectors.

These findings point to the importance of financial security and management skills and the ability for women to access other sources of income, entrepreneurship and opportunities to improve inequality. It also highlights women are more likely to be in part time and insecure work.