News story

Department for Education Reports Gender Pay Gap

DfE becomes the first Government department to publish its gender pay gap and bonus pay gap.

Mind the Gap

The Department for Education has today become the first Government department to publish its gender pay gap and bonus pay gap, setting an example to other employers on promoting gender equality in the workplace.

The department has reported a mean pay gap – the difference between average salaries for men and women - of 5.3% and a median pay gap of 5.9%. This is compared to the UK’s national gender pay gap of 18.1% which is the lowest since records began in 1997.

The pay gap data will be published by all government departments and large private companies by April 2018 – shining a light on our workplaces to see where there is more to do and helping people make informed decisions about their career.

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening said:

I’m proud that the Department for Education has taken an important step in reporting its gender pay gap, setting an example to other employers as we build a stronger economy where success is defined by talent, not gender or circumstance.

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.

The Department for Education is committed to reducing its gender pay gap and has introduced a range of initiatives to support women in the workplace, including:

  • Support for women returning to work: through shared parental leave, job sharing or part time opportunities. The department has also updated its guidance on supporting staff returning from maternity or adoption leave.
  • Helping women progress in their careers: through talent management schemes such as the Positive Action Pathway, open to all from protected characteristic groups.
  • Providing networks: the departmental women’s equality network, Network 58, runs upskilling events, promotes campaigns and holds talks to support women in the workplace.
  • Monitoring pay: to identify any pay differences and take targeted action where appropriate.
  • Improving the recruitment process: the department has anonymised the application process to reduce unconscious bias and ensuring that all interviewers have undergone unconscious bias training.
  • Focus on gender equality: the department has made gender equality a central part of the departmental Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

These initiatives have helped to create a culture that supports women in the workplace and have been supported by strong leadership across the organisation, helping to close the gender pay gap.

In April, the UK became one of the first countries in the world to require mandatory gender pay gap reporting, a key part of the government’s work to eliminate the gender pay gap. Private, public and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish their gender pay gap and bonus pay gap by April 2018. The published gender pay gap data can be viewed here.

The detailed information published today shows the department has also reported a mean bonus pay gap of only 0.8% and a 0.0% median bonus pay gap. Its bonus awards are based on performance and this 0.0% pay gap reflects the fact that men and women’s performance is valued equally and fairly. The department’s data includes the Government Equalities Office.

Breaking down the gender pay gap data by quartiles has helped the department to identify exactly where attention should be focused. Over half (55%) of the department’s senior civil servants are female and there is a higher proportion of women than men in the department’s top pay quartile. However, there is also a higher concentration of women to men in the department’s lowest pay quartile, which has contributed to the gender pay gap. Through the initiatives referenced above, the department will work to continue to support women’s progress in the workplace.

The gender pay gap mandatory reporting requirements are part of wider work the Government is doing to support women in the workplace. This includes £5 million to support returners, offering 30 hours of free childcare, and introducing shared parental leave and new rights to request flexible working. There is also extensive cross-Government work to get more women into the top jobs at the UK’s biggest companies and to get more girls taking STEM subjects at school.

Published 28 June 2017