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Are the number of women in low skilled and low paid roles driving the Gender Pay Gap?

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Last month we held our third academic seminar to understand this issue.

Among the 60 attendees were some of the field’s leading academics and policymakers. Together, we looked at possible actions employers could take to support the progression of women in low paid and low skilled roles.

 Professor Jill Rubery (University of Manchester) spoke about the gender imbalance in low paid and low skilled work, whilst Professor Jo Swaffield (University of York) discussed the implementation of National Living Wage. We also heard from Dr Kitty Stewart (London School of Economics) who has looked at the employment journeys of lone parents in low paid work and Nye Cominetti, from the Resolution Foundation on their research into low pay and progression.

Professor Jill Rubery said “With all the media attention on the gender pay gap reporting it is really important to undertake detailed research to understand what are the key factors affecting women’s pay and progression in different parts of the labour market. I therefore very much welcome the WAGE Research Programme’s exploration of the issues affecting women in low wage jobs.”

The seminar forms part of the Government Equalities Office’s Workplace and Gender Equality (WAGE) programme. This is a £1.1 million programme aiming to conduct new research to help employers close their gender pay gaps. The programme works with over 240 leading academics and policymakers to:

  • gather the existing evidence
  • identify and fill research gaps
  • produce evidence-based tools

These steps help employers to understand what works in closing the gender pay gap. Our research tells us that there are many different causes of the gender pay gap. Earlier this year we published employer guidance on how to improve their family friendly policies and how to support women to progress. Stay tuned for our guidance on how to support women in low skilled and low paid roles by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How can I get involved?

Academics: Get in touch with us through the WAGE Research Programme by emailing

 Employers: Download our various guides on how to identify and reduce your pay gap here:


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