Date lodged: 31 August 2016
To ask the Scottish Government, in light of recent reports of a gender pay gap in Scotland of 29.9%, what steps it is taking to reduce this.
Answered by: Keith Brown 20 September 2016
We do not recognise the figures quoted. The long-term trends in relation to the gender pay gap in Scotland are positive. The official source of UK earnings estimates is the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), 2015. ASHE provides evidence to support policy making in a variety of areas including: low pay; the gender pay gap, and regional economic analysis. ASHE data is published annually and is based on a 1% sample of the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. The most recent estimates of gender pay gap sourced from the ASHE data (based on median hourly earnings excluding overtime) show that both the full time pay gap and overall pay gap (full and part-time) have narrowed considerably in Scotland since 1999 - the full-time pay gap from 16.7% in 1999 to 7.3% in 2015 and the overall pay gap from 24.6% in 1999 to 16.8% in 2015. However, there is clearly still more to do, and we are working hard to address the complex drivers and causes of the pay gap. We are providing £205,000 in funding to the 'Close the Gap' partnership in 2016-17, to encourage and work with employers to enable actions to address the gender pay gap. Under the programme for government we have committed to almost double the level of free childcare for three and four year olds by 2020; we actively promote the living wage because we know that women are disproportionately likely to be in low paid jobs, we have brought more transparency to pay issues by lowering the threshold for public authorities in Scotland to publish their pay gap. We also support fair work practices, including flexible working, which can be crucial in helping women and men combine career development with family responsibilities.