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UK gender pay gap: 8/10 companies still pay men more than women

21 August 2019 Data Insights

The heated gender pay gap debate hit the headlines again this April when a government study revealed almost 8/10 companies still pay men more than women. UK law states that all businesses with more than 250 employees must publish a gender pay gap report, and 8,124 of the 10,444 organisations that complied paid male workers more. 

These figures left us wondering where the biggest problems lie in the UK, so we at Paymentsense decided to put the gender pay gap under the microscope. As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of card machinescard readers, and payment gateways, we know a thing or two about money.

We analysed UK government statistics to uncover which cities are home to the worst offenders and dug even deeper to find the industries and job roles most likely to discriminate. 

London has the biggest pay gap of UK cities

Full of big businesses, London has the UK’s biggest gender pay gap, and the sheer size of the figure itself is shocking. The 30.40% pay gap found in the UK capital is miles away from the second-worst offender, Birmingham at 17.80%. Leeds is third with 16.30%, followed closely by Liverpool at 15.60%. 

What about the others? Our map shows the 10 cities where the male and female populations see the largest gap in pay on average.

Which city in the UK has the biggest gender pay gap?

City Gender Pay Gap in %        Salary amount less than Men £  Number of free days worked
London 30.40% £8,303 71
Birmingham 17.80% £4,862 41
Leeds 16.30% £4,452 40
Liverpool 15.60% £4,261 38
Bristol 14.80% £4,402 41
Manchester 14.70% £4,015 39
Glasgow 14.20% £3,878 37
Nottingham 12.30% £3,359 31
Newcastle 11.50% £3,414 32
Sheffield 11.30% £3,086 30


Finance and insurance sectors show a 39.8% pay gap 

There’s more depressing news when it comes to employment sectors. Financial and insurance activities are head and shoulders above (or below) everyone else with a 39.8% pay gap. Second on the list is electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply sectors with 26.8%, closely followed by education with a 25.9% gap.  

Which sector has the biggest gender pay gap?

Industry   Gender pay gap %
Financial and insurance activities 39.8
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 26.8
Education 25.9
Professional, scientific and technical activities 22.7
Other service activities 21.6
Information and communication 21.2
Manufacturing 20.3
All industries and services 17.9
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motor cycles 17.8
Human health and social work activities 17.3


recent report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) found the gender pay gap in the education system effectively means women are working free for 95 days per year compared to their male colleagues. 

Females with fair pay? Look to mining and quarrying

Women who want to have the best chance of avoiding pay discrimination should look towards mining and quarrying, which has a -6.9% gender gap. The minus figure makes it one of only two industries where, when salaries are assessed as an average, men are paid less than women. 

Water supply and waste management services follows, with a -1.6% gender pay gap that favours female workers over men. Things are nearly even in accommodation and food services, with a 4.2% gender pay gap that still favours male workers but less so than many other industries. 

Which sector has the smallest gender pay gap?

Industry   Gender pay gap %
Mining and quarrying -6.9
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities -1.6
Accommodation and food service activities 4.2
Transport and storage 4.8
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 6.6
Administrative and support service activities 8.2
Arts, entertainment and recreation 12.1
Real estate activities 14.9
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 15.4
Construction 16.3

Finance roles have some of the largest pay gaps

The worst job a woman can have as far as the gender pay gap goes is financial account manager. It comes in at a staggering 49.1% behind the opposite sex. The alarmingly high figure comes despite numerous attempts to encourage the industry to improve gender representation. 

Environmental health officer roles come in second place with 46.2%, while mining production manager positions have a 43.6% pay gap favouring male workers. 

Which job role has the biggest gender pay gap?

Job role Gender pay gap %
Financial account manager  49.1%
Environmental health officer  46.2%
Mining production managers  43.6%
Sales executive  39.1%
Prison officer  39%
Engineer (heating, plumbing) 36.4%
Train conductor  36.3%
Legal professionals  35.1%
Journalists  35%
Chartered surveyors  33.7%


Social services managers, PTs, PRs have the smallest gender pay gap 

The best job role for women hoping to get paid more than their male counterparts is social services manager, which has a -88.3% gap in favour of females. Female personal trainers are also highly likely to enjoy a bigger pay packet than men, with a -75.2% space. This is followed by PR professionals at -32% and careers advisors at -31.4%. 

Which job role has the smallest gender pay gap?

Job role   Gender pay gap %
Social services managers  -88.3%
Personal trainers  -75.2%
Public relations professionals  -32%
Careers advisors  -31.4%
Visual merchandisers  -26.4%
Medical radiographers  -25.9%
Personal assistant -26%
Playworkers  -25.4%
HR associate  -25%
Therapy professionals  -9.3%


Despite the hefty amount of press column inches, the gender pay gap has earned over the last few years, very little has changed. The gap did shrink between 2018 and 2019 but going from 9.7% to 9.6% highlights how far the UK must go as far as gender pay equality is concerned. 



Our campaign was compiled by analysing ONS data to determine which areas, age groups and job roles have the largest gender pay gap, the data used in the campaign is the mean of the gender pay gap in the UK. 

Average UK Salary based on most up to date 2018 ONS data- £27,312

Number of days worked for free calculated based on 261 working days in the year and the average UK salary. 


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