JERSEY employers and the government “need to work much harder” to help close the gender pay gap, according to a leading campaigner – after new statistics showed it had remained stagnant over the course of a year.
Kate Wright, the co-founder of the Diversity Network, spoke after estimates of gross earnings in the Island – as of June 2023 – were revealed in the latest report published by Statistics Jersey.
The figures, which were produced using data held by the government for administrative purposes – such as social-security contributions – provide a snapshot of how much earnings have changed in Jersey since June 2022 and how they are split by sector, age, nationality and sex.
Median monthly earnings for men and women for June 2023 were £3,660 and £3,260 respectively, producing an overall gender pay gap of 12% – the same as it was in June 2022.
The gap was largest in the information and communication sector (28%), closely followed by financial and legal activities (26%), and was lowest among those working in education, health and other services (4%).
Ms Wright said: “To close the gender pay gap, we – government and employers – need to work much harder to challenge and break down industry stereotypes so women and men, girls and boys, aspire to and are able to access a career more easily in sectors where they are traditionally under-represented.”
She continued: “We also need to enable fathers to share parenting and domestic responsibilities and for women and men to be able to work flexibly and continue to progress their careers right up to C-suite. Why not a part-time or job-sharing chief executive?
“It’s critical that employers and government consider policies and initiatives to close the gender pay gap through the lens of intersectionality.”
She added that the data showed the Island was “really just tinkering around the edges” of the subject, although she praised Statistics Jersey for producing such reports. Meanwhile, overall median earnings for the month were recorded as being around £3,480, representing an increase of 8.8% from June 2022.
However, after taking into account inflation, the figures actually mark a 2% decrease in real-terms. Those aged 45 to 49 had the highest median earnings (£4,140) while those aged 16 to 19 had the lowest (£1,770).
By sector, the highest median earnings were brought in by those involved with financial and legal activities (£4,910), while those working in hotels, restaurants and bars had the lowest (£2,400).
Ms Wright said: “The further 2% drop in median salaries in Jersey since the last report confirms just how concerning the continued high costs of living are for most Islanders.
“Importantly, this data also helps us to understand how certain sections of our community are disproportionately affected by growing wealth inequalities and the barriers that exist in Jersey to gender and ethnic equality and social mobility.”