More than a year ago, I wrote this about the government’s misuse of statistics when talking about the gender pay gap…
However the real ‘elephant in the room’ here is this statement, which comes from a factsheet (pdf) produced by the government’s own Women and Equality Unit:
The part-time gender pay gap
The part-time gender pay gap is based on the hourly wage of men working full-time and women working part-time, which is defined as being less than 30 hours a week.
Sorry? It’s based on comparing what with what?
Do I really need to explain what’s wrong with particular proposition?
Fortunately, it now appears that I don’t…
The Government was drawn into another row over its use of statistics today after the Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman was criticised by an official watchdog.
Sir Michael Scholar, head of the UK Statistics Authority, said Ms Harman’s use of figures on the pay gap between men and women was potentially misleading.
His rebuke came after Ms Harman, also Minister for Women, used a figure for the gender pay divide more than twice the level used by official statisticians.
A press release issued by the Government Equalities Office on April 27 said women were on average paid 23% less per hour than men.
But the Office for National Statistics puts the figure more than ten points lower at 12.8%.
And the reason for this discrepancy?
Both figures were taken from the same annual survey of hours and pay, and are based on average hourly earnings excluding overtime.
The ONS measure is based on full-time earnings alone while the GEO figure includes full-time and part-time workers.
Both men and women who work part-time are paid less, but the vast majority of part-time workers are women. That means including all part-time workers in the figure could exaggerate the pay divide.
So, even the National Statistical Authority agree that conflating the evidence relating to full-time and part-time work presents a misleading and tendentious picture, on that massively exaggerates the extent of the gender pay gap.