Gender pay gap for council staff revealed

West Sussex County Council SUS-160531-124255001
West Sussex County Council SUS-160531-124255001

The gender pay gap for council staff working in Chichester and Arun has been revealed.

Women employed by Arun District Council earn a mean hourly rate 31.7 per cent lower than men but their median hourly rate is only 8.5 per cent lower.

The average hourly gap is the worst figure for local authorities across Sussex.

Meanwhile figure is 3.6 per cent at Chichester District Council and 7.8 per cent at West Sussex County Council.

The gender pay gap happens where companies or organisations employ more highly paid men than women and is not the same as having unequal pay, which has been unlawful since 1970.

The deadline for firms and public sector organisations with more than 250 staff to publish data passed last week.

According to Arun council one of the factors behind this is, as a flexible employer, it has a larger number of female employees in part-time roles.

The local authority went on to explain how for full-time employees average pay is the same in almost all of the grades up to senior manager.

The gender pay gap happens where companies or organisations employ more highly paid men than women and is not the same as having unequal pay, which has been unlawful since 1970.

The deadline for firms and public sector organisations with more than 250 staff to publish data passed last week.

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: “We fully accept that there’s work to be done so alongside publishing our pay figures on our website, we’ve also prepared an action plan for how we can address the gender pay gap.

“This includes reviewing our recruitment practices and staff development opportunities with the aim of increasing the proportion of female employees in management posts; surveying a sample of female staff to understand potential barriers to progression and reviewing feedback from exit interviews to identify reasons for leaving amongst female staff graded at manager level and above.

“The council will also monitor flexible working applications from both male and female employees to ensure that these are being promoted and applied consistently, and at all organisational levels.

“We will also be reviewing starting pay on appointment, promotion and pay reviews, particularly on lower-grade posts.

“We take this issue very seriously and feel hopeful that, over time, these measures will help to tackle the gender pay gap in our authority.”

A CDC spokesman said: “We are pleased that our mean and median gender pay gaps are small in comparison to many other employers at 3.65 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.

“However, we are not complacent about gender equality in the workplace and will continue to seek to ensure that both women and men continue to strive for promotion to more senior roles throughout the organisation.

“This is supported by continued equality and diversity awareness training for our staff and the leadership of our senior management team.”

Responding to the figures a spokesman for the county council added: “The gender pay balance for West Sussex County Council reflects our strong representation of women in the most senior roles within our organisation and the employment of women at all levels of our organisation.

“We encourage the provision of part-time and family-friendly working arrangements to help both men and women with, for example, caring responsibilities or those wanting to work less hours ahead of their full retirement from paid work.

“The majority of our 34 per cent staff who work part-time are female and when this is taken into account it means that men, on average, are paid 7.75 per cent more than women.

“We will continue to work hard to improve our recruitment, progression, and retention of women across all the grades in our workforce.

“As part of this, we are looking to identify women (and men) as role models across a whole range of roles within our organisation.

“We already have a number of initiatives including the support to the “HeforShe” campaign through our fire and rescue service and our women in the workforce staff group as one of our key groups to support the development of our organisational culture.”