New perspectives on the gender pay gap: trends and drivers

This report explains the different measures of the gender pay gap and considers how it has been changing over time. It also considers underlying drivers and describes Scottish Government policy intended to help encourage the decline of the pay gap.


1. For example the UN's Gender Inequality Index:

2. This includes a wide range of elementary occupations, including, farm labourers, cleaners, elementary construction, sales and security workers.

3. Alternative pay gaps exist and each has a different set of issues. These alternatives are set out in section 6 below.

4. The Telegraph online article: ' The gender pay gap has fallen to a record low'.
Available at

5. Department of Culture, Media and Sport (2014) Secondary Analysis of the Gender Pay Gap: Changes in the gender pay gap over time. March 2014.

6. Wendy Olsen and Sylvia Walby (2004). Modelling gender pay gaps. This study is now very old and focused on the UK. The Scottish Government has provided funding to Close the Gap to commission work to update this reflecting the structural changes that have taken place in the economy since 2001/02.

7. This reflects that the UK data (British Household Panel Survey 2001/2) showed that women spent less time in formal education than men.

8. Hart R and Roberts JE (2011). British Women in Science and Engineering: the problem of employment loss rates.

9. Royal Society of Edinburgh (2012). Tapping all our talents: Women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: a strategy for Scotland.

10. For example Goldin, C. and Katz, L. (2012). The most egalitarian of all professions: pharmacy and the evolution of a family friendly occupation. National Bureau of Economic Research. Working paper 18410.

11. CPWS Briefing Paper, GPhC Register Analysis 2011. Tables 2 and 3.

12. Annual Population Survey, Jul 2014-Jun 2015.

13. For more detailed discussion, see Scottish Government (2015) Maximising Economic Opportunities for Women in Scotland.

14. Source Annual Population Estimates Jan 2015-Dec 2015.

15. The median is the value that would be in the middle of all values if they were ordered by magnitude, so is unaffected by the actual amount of the highest or lowest values. The mean is the sum of all values, divided by the number of values, so is directly affected by the amount of every value, including the very highest and lowest.

16. BIS Research Paper No. 235.


18. Source: APS Survey, January-December, ONS. Statistics were up to date at time of writing.



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