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Equilibrium's Finance and Investment News Roundup

In our roundup this week we bring news of a new report suggesting pay for mothers continues to lag behind that of men, new figures illustrating the continued rise in popularity of contactless card payments, claims that UK tourism will hold up well despite Brexit and figures showing that Eurozone private business activity was stable in August.


Report: New mothers earn less than men

Women continue to earn less than men for many years when they return to work part-time after giving birth. This is according to a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which revealed the pay gap between the sexes steadily becomes wider in the years after babies are born, with women's hourly pay rate falling 33% behind men's over the space of 12 years.

The findings showed that a mother's earning power may be impacted due to them gaining less experience in their place of work and missing out on promotion opportunities.

Robert Joyce, one of the report's authors, said: "Women who work half-time lose out on subsequent wage progression, meaning that the hourly wages of men (and of women in full-time work) pull further and further ahead." 

Popularity of contactless payment continues to grow

Contactless card payment is continuing to grow, new figures from the UK Cards Association have shown. It was revealed that use of the payment method - including both spending and the number of transactions - was higher in the first half of 2016 than across the whole of last year.

According to the figures, the typical contactless transaction is worth £8.60, while contactless now accounts for 18% of all card spending compared to 7% 12 months ago.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "Contactless cards are firmly entrenched as the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers, who expect to be able to use them for everyday purchases." 

UK tourism 'to hold up' post-Brexit

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has said that tourism in the UK will 'hold up' in 2016 following the nation's decision to remove itself from the European Union. The WTTC predicted the sector will grow by 3.6% over the year, which is higher than the 3.1% global growth anticipated for the sector.

Despite this, fewer jobs will be created in the long-term than might have been expected and a number of issues relating to Brexit will have to be overcome. The WTTC stated: "By 2020, we now expect that the UK travel and tourism sector will support 1.88 million direct jobs, which is approximately 75,000 fewer jobs than forecast in the annual update at the start of the year." 

Eurozone private business activity 'stable in August'

Private business activity in the Eurozone remained muted yet stable in August, a new survey has shown. Markit's flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 53.3 for the month, which was up on the 53.2 recorded in July and represented a seven-month high.

There is concern, however, that a slowdown in new order growth may result in a difficult September for factories. Despite this, there is encouragement that any economic repercussions of Brexit appear to have been confined to the UK, with Chief Economist at Markit Chris Williamson stating: "Policymakers will be quite encouraged that it is moving in a positive direction. It looks cautiously optimistic for the region in the face of the Brexit threat."