What is the gender pay gap (GPG)?
The gender pay gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed as a percentage difference relative to men’s earnings. It is an indicator of the differences in opportunity and choices of men and women within the workplace. It is not a measure of equal pay – that is, whether men and women receive equal pay for equal work. It is important to remember that a gap does not necessarily mean an organisation has acted inappropriately or discriminatorily.
Devon County Council’s gender make up
The gender demographic at Devon County Council in numbers:
- Full-time females 47%
- Part-time females 26%
- Full-time males 23%
- Part-time males 4%
Anyone working over 30 hours per week is considered full-time, anyone working less than 30 hours per week is considered part-time.
Median part-time hourly rate is £13.82 and median full-time hourly rate is £16.57.
Gender ratios of part-time and full-time staff and the median hourly rates for part-time and full-time staff exclude casual and variable staff.
Devon’s GPG figures
Mean hourly earnings (all employees)
- Male: £17.42
- Female: £15.97
The mean gap is 8.32%, this is down 1.07% from 2021.
Median hourly earnings (all employees
- Male: £16.98
- Female: £14.39
The median gap is 15.24%, this is down 0.16% from 2021 (ONS = 14.9%).
Median hourly earnings (full-time employees)
- Male: £16.98
- Female: £15.11
Median gap is 11.05%, this is up 1.4% from 2021 (ONS = 8.3%).
The mean is adding up all sums and dividing by the number of sums. The median is lining up the hourly rates of pay for males from low to high and picking the middle salary, repeating this process with female rates of pay to identify a median male and female rate.
The median is often viewed as a more representative measure of the pay gap because it is not affected by outliers (a few individuals at the top or bottom of the range).
The ONS conducts much of its analyses on full-time employees only as it is perceived to be the most reliable measure for comparisons. For these purposes, full-time employees are considered as those working 30 hours per week or more.
Quartiles are when a ranked set of data is divided into four equal groups, each comprising a quarter of the data so that the lower quartile is the bottom 25%, the lower middle is the next 25% and so on.
For the purposes of GPG reporting, the total headcount is divided into four equal groups based on their hourly pay. These groups are then analysed to determine the percentage of men and women in each group.
- Male: 32% (35% in 2021)
- Female: 68% (65% in 2021)
Upper middle quartile
- Male: 34% (31% in 2021)
- Female: 66% (69% in 2021)
Lower middle quartile
- Male: 21% (23% in 2021)
- Female: 79% (77% in 2021)
- Male: 22% (23% in 2021)
- Female: 78% (77% in 2021)
Devon County Council does not pay bonuses so the percentage difference between men and women’s bonuses is 0.
The Council’s gap is mainly caused by a high percentage of women in lower-graded posts rather than a high percentage of males in higher-graded posts. To reduce the gap, there needs to be a balance in the gender ratios through the grades. This can be achieved by increasing the proportion of males in lower-graded roles and increasing the proportion of females in higher-graded roles.
Council and national statistics show that the gap increases significantly for people over 40. It is widely speculated that this is due to more women taking career breaks and working part-time to facilitate caring responsibilities. Perimenopause and Menopause typically occur between the ages of 45 and 55 which also impacts female staff. A high proportion (71.4%) of the Council’s workforce is over the age of 40.
The Council has a high proportion of front-line services that are traditionally female-dominated such as caring and administrative roles which are typically paid at lower hourly rates.
A higher proportion of low-graded posts are either advertised as or can be performed part-time, this combined with the Council’s flexible working offer and family-friendly policies more commonly attract women as it is compatible with their personal requirements such as caring responsibilities.
73% of the Council’s workforce are female. The Council has over seven times more women than men working part-time and compared to full-time hourly rates, part-time staff have a lower median hourly pay (£2.75 less).
Reducing the gap
Whilst the GPG has reduced slightly for all employees there is still work to be done and for those working full-time (over 30 hours per week), the gap has increased by 1.4%.
The Council is pleased to report that the percentage of females in the upper quartile has increased by 2.7% since 2021 and it hopes to continue this through female leadership programmes such as Our Time and through formal coaching and mentoring.
The Council will continue to support and encourage:
- women into traditionally male-dominated roles
- men into traditionally female-dominated roles
- women into more senior posts
- men to make use of the flexible working and family-friendly policies
- an environment where staff feel safe and supported
What we have done
The Council has:
- offered development opportunities for women through multi-organisational networking and development initiatives including Aspiring Female Leaders Action Learning Set and developing seven female participants and seven female champions through Our Time, a 12-month leadership programme specifically for women
- signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge and continue to support our Menopause Network
- captured gender ratios through recruitment stages and are pleased that provisional analysis suggests that gender ratios are consistent through the recruitment stages
- introduced advanced equality, diversity and inclusion training to go beyond our mandatory EDI Essentials course
- introduced a new ‘Equality in Recruitment’ training module designed to support recruiting managers to deliver equitable recruitment campaigns
- removed core hours and created a new Agile Working Policy which supports staff to strike a better work life balance and enhances are already family-friendly approach
- supported Inspiring Girls, an Exeter-based programme which pairs year 9/10 girls from local secondary schools with business women in the area to provide mentorship around career aspirations
- introduced AVC support so that staff can have better access and advice to make informed decisions around additional pension contributions – this is particularly beneficial for women who are statistically more likely to take breaks in their career to fulfil caring responsibilities and otherwise forfeit pension contributions
The Council will:
- continue to support aspiring female leaders through the Our Time programme
- use recruitment data to identify causes and actions that may reduce the gap such as exploring gender ratio in different services and through the recruitment stages for junior and senior posts
- implement the Resolution Policy which will replace the Grievance Policy. The Resolution Policy is underpinned by restorative practice and will improve trust, help to strengthen relationships, build a safe and supportive environment and improve the culture of the Authority which should have a positive impact on our predominantly female workforce
Please contact HR Strategy and Performance, Devon County Council, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, EX2 7NL.