Department for Education is first government department to publish gender pay gap

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The Department for Education (DfE) has published its gender pay gap figures, becoming the first government department to do so.

Its mean pay gap – the difference in average salaries for men and women – is 5.3%, and its median pay gap is 5.9%.

This compares favourably to the UK’s national average gender pay gap, which is 18.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The department, which employs 5,430 civil servants, said that more than half of its employees were female and a higher proportion of women than men were in its top pay quartile. However, there were also more women than men in the lowest pay quartile, which contributed to the gap.

Justine Greening, who is both Education Secretary and the Minister for Women and Equalities, said she was proud that her department was setting an example to other employers.

She said: “The UK’s gender pay gap is at a record low, but we are committed to closing it. As one of the UK’s largest employers, the public sector has a vital role to play in leading the way to tackle the gender pay gap, which is why the DfE’s step to publish our gender pay gap matters.

“Through transparency we can find out what the situation is, where there is best practice and create pressure for more progress.”

All public-sector employers must report their gender pay gap by 30 March 2018, and private-sector employers’ deadline is 4 April 2018.

The DfE outlined a number of initiatives it has undertaken to reduce the difference in average pay between men and women, including:

  • better support for women returning to work, such as shared parental leave, job sharing or part-time opportunities;
  • supporting women’s career progress through talent management schemes such as its Positive Action Pathway;
  • networks and upskilling events;
  • monitoring pay more closely; and
  • anonymising the application process to reduce unconscious bias and training interviewers to recognise and address unconscious bias.

In terms of bonuses, the DfE reported a very slight mean bonus pay gap of 0.8%, while there was no median bonus pay gap whatsoever.

So far, 19 employers have uploaded their gender pay gap reports to the Government’s portal.

They include financial services company Virgin Money, which reported a mean gender pay gap of 32.5%, and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, where the mean gender pay gap was 33.1%.

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