Following the introduction of the gender pay gap regulations earlier this year, the Department for Education (the first government department to publish its gender pay gap figures) has reported a median gap of 5.9 per cent. 

The department also reported a mean bonus pay gap of only 0.8 per cent and a zero per cent median bonus pay gap. 

By breaking down the gender pay gap data by quartiles, the department was able to identify that slightly more than half (55 per cent) 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. 

The department reports that it 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, such as the departmental women’s equality network, Network 58, which 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 by anonymising the application process to reduce unconscious bias and ensure that all interviewers have undergone unconscious bias training.
  • Focusing on gender equality by making it a central part of the departmental Diversity and Inclusion strategy. 

As a result of the introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting, 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 (see weekly LELR 520 for more details). 

Iain Birrell of Thompsons Solicitors added “Public Sector pay bargaining is carried out with trade unions, and unions spend a significant amount of time and energy trying to ensure that equality is built-in. It is therefore not a particular surprise that the differentials are relatively modest here. It is true that there seems to be some way yet to go, but perhaps it is also unlikely that full statistical parity will be able to be established within the limitations of what is required to be published. It will be interesting to see how other public sector employers fare when they follow suit and publish their figures.” 

To access the pay gap data published so far, go to: