Public sector employers have until 30th March 2018 to report on the pay gap between genders and, as part of this, the Department for Education (DfE) has been the first of the government departments to announce the differences in its salaries.
In order to have more transparency in the different rates of pay for men and women, all employers have been given deadlines for reporting on their average salaries. The figures from the DfE show that it has a 5.3% mean pay gap and a median pay gap of 5.9%.
On a national level, the average pay gap between men and women, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, is 18.1%, so the inequalities seen in this one government department are well below this
The mean bonus pay gap at the department was 0.8% and it had no gap in median bonus pay.
Differences in women’s pay
The DfE has a total workforce of 5,430 civil servants and over 50% are female, with more women than men receiving the highest levels of pay. However, at the other end of the scale, these figures show that there were also a higher number of women in the lower pay sector, which accounted for the gap in salaries.
As well as being the Education Secretary, Justine Greening is also the Minister for Women and Equalities, and she stated that she is proud that her department is providing an example for other public and private sector organisations.
Even though the gender pay gap in the UK is currently at its lowest ever level, the government is committed to narrowing it even further. Ms Greening sees the public sector as playing an important role in tackling pay inequalities, stating that greater transparency will indicate exactly where we are and will push for more progress to be made.
Reducing pay inequalities
As part of its publication, the DfE highlighted initiatives that it has put in place to help lower the gap in pay between men and women.
These include offering greater support to women who are returning to the workplace, for example providing part-time opportunities, job sharing or shared parental leave. They are also supporting the progress of women’s careers with talent management schemes, like the Positive Action Pathway, and providing up-skilling and networking events.
The department is keeping a close eye on pay levels. The job application process is becoming anonymous to limit any unconscious bias and interviewers are being trained to understand and reduce any bias at the interview stage.
In all, 19 employers have already provided reports for the government portal on their gender pay gaps, including Virgin Money, which had a 32.5% mean pay gap, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, where the figure was 33.1%. Private sector businesses have until 4th April 2018 to report their figures.
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