Bosses say there is “no simple solution” with gender pay gap at Cambridgeshire County Council

Cambridgeshire County Council is set to mull the plans.

Cambridgeshire County Council is set to mull the plans. - Credit: Archant

Despite a lower than average gender pay gap, there is “no simple solution” to improving the situation with women at Cambridgeshire County Council earning, on average, up to 18 per cent less than their male colleagues.

A report into the gender pay gap at Cambridgeshire County Council has concluded that, while there is not a “specific problem” with recruitment at the council, and no suggestion of gender discrimination, a disparity remains in the average pay of council employees because not enough women are in the highest paying jobs.

A report from LGSS (local government shared services), which is due to go before the county council’s staffing and appeals committee on September 5, says the council’s “median pay gap” is 18 per cent. This means when all of the hourly rates of pay for male and female employees are put in order of highest to lowest, women in the middle are earning £2.56 less than male co-workers.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the median average gender pay gap is 19.4 per cent, meaning Cambridgeshire’s pay gap is lower than the average for the public sector.

The gender pay gap report identified the “mean average” pay gap was 13 per cent, which means that when the total female hourly earnings are divided by the number of female employees, compared with their male counterparts, women are earning an average of £1.95 less than male employees.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s mean average is lower than the national public sector average of 17.7 per cent as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2017.

The LGSS report says representation of females across three of the four pay quartiles is “fairly evenly split” and representative of the workforce split of 80 per cent female to 20 per cent male employees.

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However, according to the report, there is a lower proportion of women in higher paying jobs in the top quartile.

The report reads: “This tells us that we need to target developing our female employees to progress into the more senior roles within the council.”

No evidence was given to suggest that bias to being female or male has happened within CCC, and according to the report, employee views of gender pay and equality at CCC are “very positive”.

The LGSS report stressed the council does not have a “specific issue” with gender pay, but did say a long-term solution would be needed to reduce the existing disparity.

Martin Cox, HR director said: “The analysis and research undertaken as a result of this review has emphasised that there is no quick win or simple solution to reduce a gender pay gap in the workforce.

“Simply recruiting a few females onto higher salary levels is not only potentially discriminatory and not advisable, but also has very little impact to an organisation with over 5000 employees. The only way to reduce our gender pay gap is to take a long term view of resourcing, developing and engaging our workforce.

“The data outlines that there are no particular salary grades or professions which have a disproportionally high gender pay gap. Our current HR policies and practices do not seem to create any gender pay gap bias and our managers are appropriately complying with these policies.”