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A new study reveals the fairest, best and worst places in the UK to work as a woman, compared to men’s pay – Swansea ranking 4th fairest in the UK.

The research, conducted by the latest available data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to analyze the differences in median annual earnings between men and women working full time in 321 districts across the UK.

Arun district, in the heart of the country’s south coast, is the most gender-balanced workplace in the UK. On average, men in Arun have an annual income of £26,740, while women earn £26,694 a year, which is £40 more than their male counterparts. This only represents a wage difference of 0.15%.

Swansea comes 4th in the UK just behind Sunderland (2nd) and North East Derbyshire (3rd). On average, men in Swansea have an annual salary of £28,525, with women earning £163 more a year with an average salary of £28,688.

While most places in the top 10 lag behind in terms of the UK’s average gross annual salary of £31,285, with the exception of Stirling, they make up for gender equality. Salaries for men and women in these 10 places only vary up to £500 a year.

# Place Average male salary (£) Average female salary (£) Difference between men and women avg. wages (£)* How much more men are paid than women (%)*
1 Arun 26,654 26,694 -40 -0.15
2 Sunderland 26,635 26,593 42 0.16
3 North East Derbyshire 26,740 26,691 49 0.18
4 Swansea 28,525 28,688 -163 -0.57
5 Southend-on-Sea 28,952 29,185 -233 -0.80
6 Stirling 32,258 32,722 -464 -1.44
7 Tunbridge Wells 27,942 27,524 418 1.50
8 Dumfries and Galloway 27 207 27,627 -420 -1.54
9 Thanet 26,442 26,014 428 1.62
ten Bedford 29,629 29,133 496 1.67

*a negative value means that women are paid more than men

Top 10 best workplaces for women

The field that inspired Jane Austen to write some of her best-known novels is now the highest paying workplace for women compared to men. Women working full time in East Hampshire earn on average £4,086 more than men.

Chorley and Conwy are respectively the second and third highest paying places for women to earn more than men. Here, full-time working women earn nearly three thousand pounds more than men.

The two places couldn’t be more different in terms of economic background. Historically, Chorley grew the most after the Industrial Revolution, home to many important cotton mills, while Conwy is home to one of Kind Edward I’s castles. US President Nancy Pelosi recently visited Chorley for the 2021 G7 Presidents Summit, which provided an immediate boost to the local economy.

# Place Average male salary (£) Average female salary (£) Difference between women and men BC. wages (£) How much more women are paid than men (%)
1 East Hampshire 28,087 32,173 4,086 2:55 p.m.
2 Chorley 25,285 28,258 2,973 11.76
3 Conwy 24,634 27,469 2,835 11.51
4 Rushcliff 29,609 32,720 3,111 10.51
5 Gwynedd 25,501 27,990 2,489 9.76
6 South Oxfordshire 32,861 35,964 3,103 9.44
7 Burnley 21,483 23,433 1,950 9.08
8 North Ayrshire 30,762 33,148 2,386 7.76
9 Ceredigion 27,016 28,580 1,564 5.79
ten Carmarthenshire 28,300 29,548 1,248 4.41

Top 10 worst workplaces for women

At the opposite end of the gender pay gap is South Derbyshire – by far the worst offender. Despite being considered one of the best places to live in England, women here only get about half of what men are paid. ONS data suggests that while men’s annual wages average £33,967, women in South Derbyshire earn just £17,484. This is in stark contrast to its previously mentioned county compatriot in North East Derbyshire, which ranks as the third highest earning place in the UK for both men and women.

As charming as its landscapes are, Mole Valley paints a bleak picture of gender equality in the workplace. Surprisingly, according to, Mole Valley, is the eighth highest paid workplace in the UK, but it does not pay women as much as men. While full-time men earn an average of £49,222 a year, women in this Surrey district earn 40.52% less.

The beautiful chain of islands of Outer Hebrides on the northwest coast of Scotland, also known as the Western Isles or Na h-Eileanan Siar in Scottish Gaelic, follows just behind as third worst for gender pay equality. Women earn about a third less than men.

With only 29,000 inhabitants in the Outer Hebrides, the islands rely heavily on tourism. Attracting around 219,000 visitors each year, tourism directly supports a thousand jobs and hundreds of local businesses on the islands. Unfortunately, men snatch most of the benefits, 38.36% more than women, to be precise. The average woman working in the Outer Hebrides earns £21,518 a year, while men have an annual income of £34,911.

# Place Average male salary (£) Average female salary (£) Difference between men and women avg. wages (£) How much more men are paid than women (%)
1 South Derbyshire 33,967 17,484 16,483 48.53
2 Mole Valley 49,222 29,276 19,946 40.52
3 Na h-Eileanan Siar 34,911 21,518 13,393 38.36
4 Dartford 43,009 26,765 16,244 37.77
5 Erewash 32,568 20,807 11,761 36.11
6 Redditch 37,023 24 105 12,918 34.89
7 go to sports 39,237 25,797 13,440 34.25
8 North Hertfordshire 38,948 25,649 13,299 34.15
9 Rugby 42,543 28,365 14,178 33.33
ten East Cambridgeshire 33,611 22,448 11,163 33.21

A spokesperson for commented on the results: “Our research suggests that some of the fairest employers are not necessarily the wealthiest. Quite the contrary, in fact, districts with high-paying jobs in general tend to pay women much less.

“The pay difference between men and women in Mole Valley is quite remarkable. Considering they can afford to pay the men close to 50,000 a year, it’s surprising that they cut the women working there by 20,000.

“Arun, Sunderland and North East Derbyshire have been a welcome surprise and employers operating there should get more credit for offering nearly equal pay for men and women. It’s only fitting that women in East Hampshire, where Jane Austen has lived for her last eight prolific years, earn almost 15% more than men – the biggest jump of all.

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