Gender pay gap: North Herts District Council has biggest disparity in UK

Councils have reported gender pay gaps

Councils have reported gender pay gaps - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Gender pay gap figures have been revealed – with North Herts having the biggest disparity among all councils in the UK.

The North Herts District Council offices in Letchworth. Picture: DANNY LOO

The North Herts District Council offices in Letchworth. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Organisations with more than 250 employees were required to publish differences in pay for men and women under the Equality Act 2010, in a bid to tackle workplace discrimination.

North Herts District Council had the worst pay gap among all local authorities to publish data, with female employees earning a median average of 34 per cent less per hour than men across the organisation. The findings also showed that 58.2 per cent of workers in the highest paid jobs were men. Sixty-five per cent of all NHDC employees are female.

NHDC’s deputy chief executive Anthony Roche said: “We take these figures very seriously and are committed to providing opportunities for all staff regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.

“Where we have a gender pay gap in senior management roles, we have plans in place to implement more leadership development and succession planning to support women considering those roles.

Gender pay gap statistics for Stevenage, North Herts, South Cambs and Central Beds

Gender pay gap statistics for Stevenage, North Herts, South Cambs and Central Beds - Credit: Archant

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“However, the council’s gender pay gap can also be explained by the contracting out of services such as waste and recycling and ground maintenance, jobs predominantly filled by men. Many of the jobs of equivalent level provided by the council are office based and often suited to flexible working opportunities, therefore attracting more women. If the contracted out roles were filled in-house, the pay gap would be smaller.”

At Stevenage Borough Council female employees median hourly rate is 9.9 per cent lower than men’s, and less than half of workers earning a wage in the top quarter are women – at 46.2 per cent.

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Central Bedfordshire Council also has a substantial gap in pay between men and women, with women earning 18.2 per cent lower than men on average, however, the majority of the council’s highest paid workers are women at 61.6 per cent.

A CBC spokesman said: “The council contracts out many services and this can impact the male/female split of the council’s own workforce which in turn may statistically impact the gender pay gap.

Stevenage Borough Council's offices in Danestrete. Picture: Archant

Stevenage Borough Council's offices in Danestrete. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

“The council offers a range of family friendly policies and flexible working opportunities as well as supporting career development and this is reflected in the higher than average percentage of women in senior management roles in unitary authorities.”

Looking slighly further afield, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s figures appear to be an anomaly, as women benefit from a ‘reverse gender pay gap’. At SCDC women earn 17.1 per cent more than men on average per hour, and more than half of its staff earning in the top quarter are women, at 55 per cent.

The head of people and organisational development at SCDC, Susan Gardner-Craig, said: “We’re really proud of all of our staff, and place a lot of importance on learning and personal development. Additionally, we’ve made efforts in the last few years to ensure women are better represented at our top levels.

“We’ve helped more females take up senior management positions through our leadership development programme, by using secondments and by giving tailored support to help their career develop. We have a fair recruitment process and transparent pay and grading system that makes it very clear what pay-grade each job is within right from the stage a position is advertised. Overall we feel our gender pay gap report is positive and helps to highlight that this is a fantastic place to work.”

Herts County Council seem to fall close to the middle with their gender pay gap data, as women’s median hourly rate is 0.4 per cent higher than that of men. This may be a reflection of the male to female ratio within the workforce, with 5,418 women employed compared to 2,656 men.

Out of its female workers, 64.3 per cent are working the highest paid jobs.

A Herts County Council spokesman said: “The county council is pleased to have achieved such a narrow gender pay gap which is a reflection of the strength of our commitment to equality in the organisation. We continuously review and improve our strategies and initiatives around equality and diversity to ensure that our duties under the Equality Act are met.”

Cambridgeshire County Council reported a 18 per cent pay gap between its male and female employees when comparing mean hourly rates. 70.2 per cent of those in the highest paid jobs are female, while 78.2 per cent of this in the upper-middle quartile are women.

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