Department for Education reveals gender pay gap of over 5%

First ever analysis into pay differential by a Whitehall department sets example for government, says permanent secretary Jonathan Slater


By Richard Johnstone

28 Jun 2017

The Department for Education has today become the first government department to publish data on its gender pay gap and bonus pay gap, finding that average pay for women in the department is 5.3% lower than for men.

This difference between the average pay rates is lower than the national gender pay gap of 18.1%, although the median pay gap – the middle value across the department's grades – was higher at 5.9%.

Over half (55%) of the department’s senior civil servants are female, but there is also a higher concentration of women to men in the department’s lowest pay quartile, which contributed to the gap.


All employers will be required to publish pay gap data by next April under regulation put in place earlier this year. Writing for Civil Service World today, DfE permanent secretary Jonathan Slater said there is a real opportunity for the civil service to lead by example.

“We have analysed and published our gender pay gaps for a number of years. By being open about the challenges we face, we shine a light on where women are held back, and create the opportunity to put this right. Women represent 59% of the department’s workforce, and I’m pleased that – at 5.9% – our gender pay gap is lower than the national average. But the senior leadership team is committed to going further,” he wrote.

“We are already seeing the benefits of attracting and developing our female talent: 55% of our senior civil servants in the department are women. Having such visible leadership from the top of the organisation can go a long way to changing our workplace cultures.”

Education secretary and minister for women and equalities Justine Greening said setting out the gender pay gap across employers was an important step in ensuring success is defined by talent, not gender or circumstance.

“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,” she added.

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

DfE said it is committed to reducing the gender pay gap, including actively monitoring pay to identify any differences and taking targeted action. It has introduced a range of initiatives to support women in the workplace such as shared parental leave, job sharing or part time opportunities and networks to support career development.

The department is also improving its recruitment system by anonymising the application process to reduce unconscious bias, and ensuring that all interviewers have undergone unconscious bias training.

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