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Greening promises to close DfE’s 5.3% gender pay gap

The Department for Education (DfE) has become the first government department to publish its gender pay gap, revealing a 5.3% difference between male and female employees.

Compared to the UK’s national gender pay gap of 18.1%, which is the lowest since records began in 1997, it is significantly lower. The department has also reported a mean bonus pay gap of only 0.8%.

Justine Greening, education secretary and minister for Women and Equalities, said she was proud of the DfE for “setting an example to other employers as we build a stronger economy where success is defined by talent, not gender or circumstance”.

The DfE noted that more than half (55%) of its 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 its lowest pay quartile, which has contributed to the gender pay gap.

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

By April next year, private, public and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees will be required to publish their gender pay gap and bonus pay gap.

Earlier this year, Greening called for a consistent approach to eliminating the gender pay gap. In an attempt to close the gap, the DfE has focused on a range of initiatives from support for women returning to work, through shared parental leave, job sharing or part-time opportunities; monitoring pay; and helping women progress in their career through talent management schemes such as the Positive Action Pathway.

Last year, it was revealed that all Greater London Authority (GLA) functional bodies would be required to produce plans to address the gender pay gap after an audit ordered by London mayor Sadiq Khan revealed female staff are consistently paid less.

And the IFS recently revealed that the pay gap between workers in the public and private sector has fallen back to “pre-crisis levels” due to the squeeze on public sector pay and pensions since 2010.

(Image: c. David Mirzoeff)

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