West Midlands moves up the ranks in Women in Work Index

The West Midlands has seen a small improvement in its ranking in the annual PwC Women in Work Index, moving from 11th place in 2020 to 10th place in 2021.

While the labour force participation rate fell by 1%, the gender pay gap slightly narrowed from 16% to 15.5% in 2021.

The index, first launched in 2010, is a weighted average of the five indicators that reflect women’s participation in the labour market and equality in the workplace, and analyses female economic empowerment across 33 OECD countries.

While the West Midlands ranking moved slightly, the East Midlands saw one of the most improved performances in 2021, moving from 7th place to 4th, with the region’s gender pay gap narrowing from 19% to 16%.

Becky Clayton, deals partner at PwC Midlands, said: “The Index demonstrates the impact the pandemic had on women in work, especially in the West Midlands. Whilst indicators in the West Midlands remained fairly stagnant, the East Midlands saw significant improvements, highlighting the disparity across the regions. It is clear that we still have work to do, locally and nationally, to address some of the core barriers for women in work, including childcare provisions and the associated cost of childcare, as well as the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s key that investment into skills continues to be an important way to address inequality through creating inclusive workplaces and equal opportunities for women from all social backgrounds. For example, PwC in the Midlands supports the Tech She Can programme, developed to encourage and empower more women into technology careers. As the Government continues to push the levelling up agenda and the Treasury considers expanding free childcare hours in England, businesses and local governments must work together to create more opportunities for women in the workplace.”

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