Recently, the Department for Education (DfE) published its figures on the gender pay gap. By doing so, DfE became the first government department to release such figures. According to the report, the mean pay gap, which is the difference between the average salaries drawn by men and women, is 5.3% and the median pay gap is 5.9%.
As per the Office for National Statistics, the figures are comparable to that of the UK’s national average gender pay gap, which stands at 18.1%.
More women in the lowest pay quartile contributed to the gap
DfE employs five thousand, four hundred and thirty civil servants and they said that more than half of their employees were female. They also said that in their top pay quartile, there was a higher proportion of women as compared to men. However, the department also noted that in their lowest pay quartile, there were also more women than men. This is what contributed towards the pay gap between both the genders.
The Department is proud to set an example to other employers
Justine Greene, who is both the Minister for Women and Equalities and Education Secretary, said that she was extremely proud of the fact that her department is setting a benchmark for other employers to follow. She also said that the gender pay gap of the UK is at its record low, but they are devoted to closing it. Since the DfE is one of the country’s largest employers in the public sector, Justine feels that it is their responsibility to come up with better solutions to manage the pay gap between both the genders. The publishing of the pay gap by the department is a step towards that direction.
She further added that she firmly believes the best way to tackle the pay gap issue is through transparency. By adopting transparent practices, she thinks they will be able to find out exactly what the situation is and also create the pressure required to initiate and enhance progress.
The employers of the public sectors must report their pay gap by 30th March, 2018 and the deadline for private sector employers is 4th April, 2018.
DfE outlined numerous initiatives to reduce the pay gap
DfE have outlined various initiatives in order to decrease the difference in average pay between women and men. These are:
- Shared parental leave, part-time or job-sharing opportunities and such other support for women returning to work
- Offering full support to help women progress their career, via talent management schemes like, Positive Action Pathway
- Upskilling and networking events
- Closely monitoring the pay structure
- Making the application process anonymous so that there is less chance of unconscious bias
- Giving training to interviewers so that they are able to recognise and address unconscious biases
As per the figures, the DfE reported a mean bonus pay gap of only 0.8%, while there was no pay gap in median bonus.
19 employers have already uploaded their gender pay gap reports to the Government’s portal including financial services company, Virgin Money, which reported a mean gender pay gap of 32.5%.
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