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.
See Appendix 1 for reasons why we only report on binary gender identities and Appendix 2 for Calculation Methodology.
Devon County Council’s gender make up
The gender demographic at Devon County Council in numbers:
- Full-time females 48% (up 1% from 2022)
- Part-time females 26% (same as 2022)
- Full-time males 23% (same as 2022)
- Part-time males 3% (down 1% from 2022)
Anyone working over 30 hours per week is considered full-time, anyone working less than 30 hours per week is considered part-time. Gender ratios of part-time and full-time staff exclude casual and variable staff.
Devon’s GPG figures
*ONS figures are provisional estimates for 2023
Mean hourly earnings (all employees)
- Male: £18.78
- Female: £17.15
The mean gap is 8.6%, this is up 0.3% from 2022.
The mean gap is 8.32%, this is down 1.07% from 2021.
Median hourly earnings (all employees)
- Male: £17.98
- Female: £15.48
The median gap is 13.9%, this is down 1.3% from 2022 (2023 ONS provisional estimate = 14.3%).
Median hourly earnings (full-time employees)
- Male: £17.98
- Female: £16.20
Median gap is 9.9%, this is down 1.1% from 2022 (2023 ONS provisional estimate = 7.7%).
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: 33% (32% in 2022)
- Female: 67% (68% in 2022)
Upper middle quartile
- Male: 31% (34% in 2022)
- Female: 69% (66% in 2022)
Lower middle quartile
- Male: 22% (21% in 2022)
- Female: 78% (79% in 2022)
- Male: 21% (22% in 2022)
- Female: 79% (78% in 2022)
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.
Both nationally and in the Council, the gender pay gap is higher for all employees than it is for full-time employees. This is because women fill more part-time jobs, which in comparison with full-time jobs have lower hourly median pay. Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data shows that in 2023 approximately 86% of male employees were in full-time jobs, compared with approximately 61% of female employees nationally. In the Council, 61% of females work full-time, compared with 84% of male employees.
Council and national statistics show that the gap increases significantly for people over 40. It is widely speculated that this is partially 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 (72.4%) 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.
74% of the Council’s workforce are female (+1% from 2022). 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.
Reducing the gap
We are pleased that the gap has decreased by 1.3% for all employees and 1.1% for full-time employees, however, there is still work to be done.
The Council is pleased to report that the percentage of females in the upper middle quartile has increased by 3 % since 2022, however, the percentage of females in the upper quartile has decreased by 1% since 2022. The Council hopes that through female leadership programmes such as ‘our time’ and through formal coaching and mentoring, females will continue to be supported into its senior roles.
The high proportion of women throughout the organisation indicates that the Council provides great employment opportunities for women across Devon, however, to reduce the gap, the Council will continue to support and encourage:
- women into more senior posts
- women into traditionally male-dominated roles
- men into traditionally female-dominated roles
- 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:
- committed to equality, diversity and inclusion being one of six areas of focus for the corporate strategic plan in 2023/4.
- launched a People Strategy for 2023 to 2025 that puts ‘People First’. The strategy has six key themes: voice, recruitment, wellbeing, belonging, learning and reward. All of these will support our predominantly female workforce and help them maximise their career opportunities. ‘Belonging’ specifically aims to create an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity, supports everyone to feel safe, well, and able to be themselves.
- set up an equality commission to accelerate its efforts of mainstreaming equality, diversity and inclusion in all of its activities. The Commission will provide political direction and greater accountability, it will form the cornerstone of equality, diversity and inclusion standards and best practice. Work will be influenced by an equality steering group and members of the group will include people from protected characteristics.
- held an engagement event in July 2023, bringing together representatives from the Council’s staff diversity networks to identify challenges, opportunities, and priorities in an inclusive and collaborative way. This included a group to represent women. The event findings and recommendations will contribute to the development of a corporate Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan (EDIAP).
- adopted a ‘flexible by default’ approach to recruitment so that all jobs are advertised as flexible unless a legitimate business case for full-time only is approved by leadership. This is expected to attract applicants seeking flexible working, especially for more senior posts which are traditionally more likely to be advertised as full-time.
- created and published multiple case-study attraction videos showcasing the Council as a flexible employer.
- improved guidance for managers and all employees on menopause, including a new risk assessment – the review has been against the new BSI Standard 30315 ‘Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace’.
- increased staff entitlement to time off during the adoption process so that staff are better supported to be present for significant events in the process and to improve work life balance.
- introduced a new staff benefits platform which has several features that will have a positive impact on our predominantly female workforce such as health and wellbeing resources including support for staff going through perimenopause or menopause.
- replaced the grievance policy with a new resolution policy which is underpinned by restorative practice and is designed to improve trust, strengthen relationships, and build a safe and supportive environment.
The Council will:
- launch an annual leavepPurchase scheme which is expected to be particularly beneficial in allowing some groups more flexibility to take additional leave from work. This could be used to spend more time with family, including those for whom they have caring responsibilities. This could reduce pressure on staff at times when childcare services would otherwise be required, such as school holidays.
- develop a framework and guidance for existing and future staff forums and networks so that staff can set up and operate groups for social, support and strategic influence purposes.
- further commitments that will support the reduction of the gender pay gap will be included in the corporate EDI Action Plan which is expected to be published in 2024.
Please contact HR Strategy and Performance, Devon County Council, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, EX2 7NL.
Appendix 1 – Gender identity
Whilst the requirement is to produce a gender pay gap report, in accordance with current gender pay gap reporting requirements, gender must be reported in a binary way and as per a person’s legally recognised sex. Currently, non-binary or intersex is not recognised under UK law and therefore sex can only be described as either (the binary) female or male. This means that the gap and figures in this report, do not consider non-binary or other identities.
Under UK law, a transgender person’s sex or assigned sex can only be changed for pension purposes if a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) is in place. Therefore, the data in this report is represented as required by HMRC records, so will not reflect the gender identity for trans people who do not have a GRC.
In 2021, the Council approached the equality commission regarding the limitations of binary reporting. They have said that employers can voluntarily report the gap using employee’s self-reported gender (which includes non-binary and other identities), however, self-declaration rates aren’t complete, and the relatively small population of non-binary and other identities means that data may be identifiable.
In 2023, the Council asked the HMRC whether it intends to broaden the gender categories. They advised that current recording is in line with the government data strategy and that it is a matter for the Government Equalities Office and Cabinet Office to take forward and determine whether it requires all government departments in the future to reflect wider gender recognition.
Appendix 2 – Calculation methodology
The mean is adding up all the values and dividing by the number of items. The median is lining up the hourly rates of pay for males from low to high and selecting 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.