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Two-thirds of the UK’s gender pay gap cannot be explained, says statistics body

Key Points
  • ONS says just over 36 percent of pay gap is down to different jobs or part-time work
  • Boddy says discrimination may play a part in remaining two-thirds
  • British women were paid almost ten percent less than male counterparts during 2017

Discrimination may play a part in the U.K. gender pay gap, according to the country's main statistics body.

Fresh analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that just over a third (36.1 percent) of the gap in pay between men and woman can be explained away by women doing different jobs or part-time work.

In the report released Wednesday, the ONS said the remaining two-thirds of the gap cannot be justified by those differences and that sex discrimination possibly "plays a part."

The body qualified that, however, suggesting that women with children are more likely than men to take time out of the labor market, leading to less experience or lower qualifications.

It said that could help explain more of the apparent pay shortfall experience by women.

"Factors such as the number of children, the age of children, whether parents have any caring responsibilities, the number of years spent in school and the highest level of qualification achieved are likely to improve the estimation of men's and women's pay structures and consequently decrease the unexplained element of the pay gap," the ONS said.

"As a result, the unexplained element should not be interpreted as a measure of discriminatory behavior, though it is possible that this plays a part."

In the analysis, the ONS claimed that in 2017 men were paid on average £1.32 ($1.82) more than women per hour of work. As a proportion of men's pay, this equated to a shortfall of around 9.1 percent.

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