Dudley making progress on gender pay gap
Dudley Council continues to make progress in tackling the gender pay gap.
All employers with 250 or more employees are now required to publish information regarding the pay gap between their male and female employees. The pay gap is defined as the difference between the mean (average) or median (actual mid point between highest and lowest) of basic annual earnings of men and women and is expressed as a percentage of the mean or median basic annual earnings of men.
Last year’s UK’s national mean gender pay gap stood at just over 17 % compared to Dudley’s 11%. This year has seen Dudley’s gap drop further to 10%.
Dudley comes in with a smaller gap than the national average, thanks to a range of measures put in place over the last 12 months, but there is still work to do. The findings also show that the authority has a majority female workforce (65%). As a flexible employer, offering part-time hours for many of its roles, the council employs significantly more women than men.
While women make up a majority of the lower paid roles, such as catering, cleaning and caring, they also make up 56% of employees in the upper end of council pay scales.
Dudley Council is already an equal pay employer, between 2010 and 2012 it undertook an organisation wide grading and pay review to ensure parity of pay between roles, and pays staff equally dependent on roles. The focus now is on narrowing the pay gap between men and women by addressing the range of roles available across the authority and access to them. The best way to reduce the pay gap is to have more women, and in particular those who work part time, in higher paid roles. The council has already introduced a new pay structure and revised terms and conditions of service to eliminate inequalities in pay and grading and has a range of family friendly policies to support work-life balance including flexible and agile working, shared parental leave, childcare vouchers and an authorised leave scheme.
In April 2019, Dudley Council became a Real Living Wage employer, which largely benefits lower paid employees, who are mainly female. It is also making the most the Apprenticeship Levy, enabling employees in lower paid jobs to develop skills to allow them to progress in their career. It has also implemented a new pay structure with bottom loaded inflation increases which helps to increase the pay for staff in lower salary grades.
The council has also provided unconscious bias training for managers, reintroduced its internal Torch Management Programme, with more than 60% of recent participants being female.
Work for the future includes reviewing recruitment practices, ensuring that all job adverts contain language which is attractive to both male and female candidates, providing further training in unconscious bias to all staff, targeting workplace planning in divisions where the gender pay gap is above the Dudley average and undertaking further work to fully understand the disparity between men and women across all grades.
Simon Phipps, cabinet member responsible for HR, said:
These findings reflect positively on the council and show that we are beating the national average in closing the pay gap. It also shows we are a progressive employer, accommodating flexible and part time working, with many of our roles fitting in around people’s lives. We’ve already introduced a range of initiatives including unconscious bias training, making the most of the apprenticeship levy to upskill our staff and committing to being a real living wage employer.
However, we’re keen to further close the gap and will be looking at ways we can be more inclusive in our recruitment practices, training our staff to challenge their own unconscious bias as well as considering opportunities for their own development within the authority. It’s important that we value our staff and give them the opportunity to develop their own skills, helping us to deliver the best services we can to our residents.
Dudley remains committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity and choice for all of its employees and ensuring that it employs a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the community it serves.
Notes to editors:
Dudley is unusual in that it keeps all of its services in-house, whereas many other authorities contract out services such as catering, care, refuse collection and highway maintenance, roles which tend to be dominated by one gender. This means that like for like comparisons across authorities in particular is difficult as the range of roles, gender split and pay scales varies enormously. In Dudley’s case, everyone is included, from the highest to lowest earners, which creates a larger spread and therefore wider pay gap than those authorities which contract out services and whose pay gap is accordingly smaller.
The pay gap is different from equal pay. The pay gap looks at the difference in pay between men and women in all roles throughout an organisation from senior managerial positions through to lower scale roles in construction, recreation, catering, cleaning and caring services, whereas equal pay relates to pay differences in the same or like for like jobs. Between 2010 and 2012 Dudley Council undertook an organisation wide grading and pay review to ensure parity of pay between roles, and pays staff equally dependent on roles.
The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 requires employers with 250 or more employees to publicly disclose information regarding how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees.
The overall gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the mean (average) or median (actual mid point between highest and lowest) of basic annual earnings of men and women and is expressed as a percentage of the mean or median basic annual earnings of men. For purposes of clarification, the specific elements of pay are included i.e. basic pay, allowances, paid leave and shift pay – excluding overtime, and an average hourly pay rate is calculated for every employee based on these payments and working hours. Dudley Council does not operate a bonus scheme and therefore bonus calculations are not necessary.