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Gender pay gap below national averages

The gender pay gap between men and women at Chesterfield Borough Council is lower than national averages.

While all men and women who do the same job are paid exactly the same figures released by the council today (Thursday 29 March) show that the gender pay gap between men and women is 7.4 per cent as a mean average and 9.3 per cent as a median average. This compares to 17.3 per cent and 18.1 per cent respectively at a national level, based on the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

This happens because some lower paid jobs, such as building cleaning, have a higher percentage of women in them, while higher paid skilled trade jobs, such as plumbers, bricklayers and heating engineers, are largely held by men. As a result across the workforce there are more men in higher paid jobs than women. In all areas where this happens it reflects national trends for the number of men or women who tend to be in a particular profession or job type.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “As the council’s first woman leader this is an issue very close to my heart.

“While everyone in the council is paid the same for doing the same job and the gender pay gap within the council is lower than the national average I still want to see us do more to eliminate this issue over time.”

Figures released by the council also show a higher percentage of men than women receive bonus payments. The council only operates a bonus scheme in its commercial services team, made up of skilled tradespeople that carry out housing repairs or improvements. 

Within this service a productivity bonus scheme operates to enable the council to attract high quality staff against private sector companies who would otherwise be paying them more. It also incentivises them to increase their productivity by completing more jobs.

Because the scheme only operates in this one area, and the workforce within that service is predominantly men, it means that the bonus gender pay gap between men and women is 12.9 per cent as a mean average and 18.4 per cent as a median average. This also means that across the whole workforce, taking into account the vast majority of services where no bonus scheme is paid, the proportion of men receiving a bonus payment is 29 per cent, while the percentage of women receiving one is 0.2 per cent.

Councillor Gilby added: “The reason for the gender pay gap is that some jobs attract more men or more women to them. That reflects wider society and the potential workforce that we can draw applicants from.

“For example, we run successful apprenticeship schemes for a variety of jobs but the number of women applying for roles in skilled trades, such as plumbers, bricklayers and heating engineers, remains low.

“Altering that will require changes in the way young people are encouraged to choose subjects and career options at school. I know local schools, colleges and universities have been working hard on this issue for several years, but it will take time for those initiatives to work through the system and translate in to us seeing more potential women applicants.

“However, we also have to take a long hard look at all our practices and ways that we can encourage more women in to these types of professions. For example, the successful Made in Chesterfield initiative run by Destination Chesterfield gives young people the opportunity to experience some of the skilled trades and engineering jobs on offer in Chesterfield and I know from talking to teachers that when young women have been at those events interest in pursuing those types of careers has gone up.”

The gender pay gap figures for Chesterfield Borough Council will be different to many other local councils because services such as building cleaning and housing repair services, where the biggest gender pay gaps exist, are still being delivered in-house.

In many councils these services have been outsourced to private companies, while council housing has been transferred to a housing association or arms-length management organisation. As a result the gender pay gaps within those trades will not appear in the figures of those councils, making their figures appear better when compared to local authorities that deliver those services in-house.

A fuller explanation of the figures can be seen alongside our gender pay gap report

First published on 29 March 2018 Last updated on 29 March 2018