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26 January 2016

Gender pay gap for women in the senior civil service

While research published by Ernst and Young today on women in the senior civil service has resulted in lot of people patting themselves on the back for their progress in closing the gender pay gap – and the progress is indeed welcome –there appears to have been little coverage of the actual figures, and just as importantly, the recommendations made by Ernst and Young with a view to speeding up progress towards gender equality.  
Across the Civil Service, the average Senior Civil Service pay differential in core departments is 6.3 per cent. The smallest gaps are at DCLG (0.2 per cent), the Scottish Government (0.6 per cent) and HMRC (2.5 per cent). Defra is the only department whose Senior Civil Service pay differential favours women, who on average earn 1.5 per cent more than their male counterparts.

Percentage pay gap of women SCS compared to men – largest to smallest
Department
2015 gap (%)
Energy & Climate Change
16.7
Cabinet Office
13.9
Ministry of Defence
10.1
HM Treasury
9.6
Education
9.3
Transport
8.8
Work & Pensions
8.5
Foreign & Commonwealth office
7.9
International Development
5.8
Home Office
5.1
Ministry of Justice
5
Business, Innovation & Skills
4.6
Health
4.1
Welsh Government
4
Culture, Media & Sports
3.7
HMRC
2.5
Scottish Government
0.6
Communities & Local Government
0.2
Defra
-1.5
Agriculture & Food
n/a*
Average
6.30%
*Due to this department’s small size, pay comparison has been excluded.
 Ernst and Young’s recommendations to the UK Government are as follows:
  • Create greater accountability for delivering diversity plans (e.g. build in to performance measures for Permanent Secretaries)
  • Focus on changing the culture at the top, and current perceptions. Research shows current perceptions of some groups of staff in the civil service do not suggest an open and inclusive culture.
  • Tackle unconscious bias (e.g. by using data more effectively to explore the root causes of perceptions in the civil service)
  • Engage senior leaders in coaching and mentoring at senior levels and  reward role models
  • Create the business case for diversity, and focus on quantifying the benefits. This must be compelling in order to elevate it to an organisational priority. Integrate diversity and inclusion into wider workforce planning to identify and develop the diverse skills, knowledge, experience and different ways of thinking needed to deliver government strategies.
  • Continue to develop practical policies that support inclusiveness and gender parity working (e.g. flexible working, job sharing, structured support networks
  • Develop platforms to showcase and share best practice across departments.

You can read the full report here.

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