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First Government Department Publishes Gender Pay Gap Figures

Following the introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting in April this year, the Department for Education has become the first Government department to publish details of its gender pay gap and bonus pay gap.

According to the figures, the department has reported a mean pay gap – the difference between average salaries for men and women - of 5.3% and a median pay gap of 5.9%. In comparison, the UK’s national gender pay gap currently sits at 18.1%, which the Government says is the lowest recorded level since records began in 1997.

The Department’s analysis found that over half (55%) of its senior civil servants are female and there is a higher proportion of women than men in the department’s top pay quartile. However, there is also a higher concentration of women to men in the department’s lowest pay quartile, which has contributed to the gender pay gap.

Reporting Requirements

Under the pay gap reporting requirements, which came into effect on 6th April, all voluntary, private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees must publish their figures by April 2018. The Government says that the regulations will cover approximately 9,000 employers with over 15 million employees, representing nearly half of the UK’s workforce.

It has described the elimination of the gender pay gap as ‘an opportunity that neither Government nor businesses can afford to ignore’, highlighting that it could add £150 billion to the country’s annual GDP by 2025.

Supporting Women in the Workplace

The Department for Education says that it is committed to further reducing its gender pay gap and already has a number of initiatives in place that will help to do this and also support women in the workplace. These include:

  • Support for women returning to work: through shared parental leave, job sharing or part time opportunities. The department has also updated its guidance on supporting staff returning from maternity or adoption leave.
  • Helping women progress in their careers: through talent management schemes such as the Positive Action Pathway, open to all from protected characteristic groups.
  • Providing networks: the departmental women’s equality network, Network 58, runs upskilling events, promotes campaigns and holds talks to support women in the workplace.
  • Monitoring pay: to identify any pay differences and take targeted action where appropriate.
  • Improving the recruitment process: the department has anonymised the application process to reduce unconscious bias and has ensured all interviewers have undergone unconscious bias training.
  • Focus on gender equality: the department has made gender equality a central part of the departmental Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

Creating Pressure for More Progress

“I’m proud that the Department for Education has taken an important step in reporting its gender pay gap, setting an example to other employers as we build a stronger economy where success is defined by talent, not gender or circumstance,” commented Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening.

“The UK’s gender pay gap is at a record low, but we are committed to closing it,” she added. “As one of the UK’s largest employers, the public sector has a vital role to play in leading the way to tackle the gender pay gap, which is why the DfE’s step to publish our gender pay gap matters. Through transparency we can find out what the situation is, where there is best practice and create pressure for more progress.”

Contact Us

For expert legal advice on gender pay gaps, or other discrimination related issues, then contact our specialist employment lawyers today.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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