County Council pushes ahead in closing the gender pay gap

This story was published 29 March 2019

The County Council is forging ahead in closing the gender pay gap for staff across all services and pledges to continue to narrow the gap.

gender pay graphic

In the past year, the county council has reduced the gap from 12.1 per cent to 10.9 per cent. This is significantly ahead of the national average of 17.1 per cent, the public sector average of 17.5 per cent and the Yorkshire and Humber regional average of 15.8 per cent.

The gender pay gap should not be confused with equal pay. The county council has a robust approach to equal pay. If two people are doing the same job, or a job rated the same in terms of value, they will be paid at the same pay grade. All jobs are evaluated and pay is determined by nationally recognised job evaluation schemes implemented jointly with Unison. The County Council carries out a joint equal pay audit with Unison every three years.

All terms and conditions and payments additional to basic pay are the same for all staff in accordance with national and local agreements negotiated with trade unions. Annual pay increases are determined by the national agreement, which applies to all local government.

The council, which is one of the largest employers in the region, has a significant proportion of its workforce in care roles and school support roles, such as cleaning and catering, which are historically taken up by women and it is this which determines the gender pay gap. However, the county council is challenging occupational gender stereotypes, encouraging more female applicants into traditionally male-dominated sectors such as highways and engineering and, conversely, attracting more men into carer posts. The Make Care Matters recruitment campaign specifically aims to get more men into care roles.

Flexible working options are available to support part-time and home working and there is an occupational maternity, paternity and shared parental leave scheme, together with paid and unpaid leave options.

Priorities for the coming year include encouraging and supporting those returning to work and developing opportunities that tackle occupational segregation to increase the number of women in IT, engineering and management roles.

County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Human Resources, said: “We continue to make good progress and expect the next set of figures to show further steady improvement. But we must and will do more. We need the best people to run our services and to ensure we find them we must be sure that we are creating a level playing field to attract more women into our top-tier posts.”

Gender pay gaps often arise in the lost employment when women take maternity leave and from the fact that many of the council’s lower graded roles such as cleaning, catering and care roles are traditionally part-time and filled by women.

Cllr Dadd added: “There is no quick fix to reducing the gender pay gap, but we have a systemic approach to promoting equality and inclusion, which we are confident will result in a steady narrowing of the gap and women achieving their full potential within the authority.”

This is the second year that public bodies employing more than 250 staff have been required to publish figures on the gender pay gap; gender bonus gap; the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses and the proportion of men and women in each quartile of the pay structure.

The proportion of women in the top quartile within the county council has increased from 65 per cent to 68.1 per cent. The county council does not pay bonuses.