Government companies reveal mixed picture on gender pay gap

CSW crunch of transparency figures shows rollercoaster pay differentials at government-owned companies

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By Jim.Dunton

05 Apr 2018

A Civil Service World analysis of some of the most high-profile government-owned businesses has found large disparities between average hourly rates for men and women, in the most extreme case a median difference of more than 40% to the detriment of female staff.

Of the companies whose figures CSW investigated, the Civil Aviation Authority appeared to have the biggest gender pay gap, with women’s average hourly pay 34% lower than that of men. When median hourly pay was compared, the difference increased to 41.6%. Official figures earlier this year showed Whitehall's gap to be 13%.


Under the Equality Act 2010, companies with more than 250 staff are also required to give a gender-based report on bonus payments by a deadline of midnight yesterday. According to the CAA, female staff were proportionately more likely to receive bonuses than men (16.6% against 12.3%), however the average bonus paid to women was 9.2% lower; the median bonus paid to women was 16.2% lower than that paid to men.

A statement from the CAA executive – including chief executive Andrew Haines, but not directly attributed to him – said the structure of the organisation and the type of roles it contained was a “contributing factor” to the gender-pay disparity.

“Everyone in the CAA contributes to regulation and protecting the public, however we have many more men than women in senior roles and by contrast many more women than men in junior roles,” it said.

“We are committed to ensuring a workplace where everyone is rewarded fairly for their efforts. To stay at the forefront of civil aviation, we need to ensure we are always evolving and enhancing the diverse range of competencies required within our organisation which in turn contributes to eliminating our gender pay gap. 

“We are ambitious in our aspirations, which we believe are achievable over time. To continue making the right progress, recognising there is still much more we need and want to do, our colleagues are encouraged to share ideas and get involved in developing initiatives that aim to help accelerate the progress we make in this area.”

At the Department for Transport-owned High Speed Two, average hourly pay for women was 22% lower than for men, while the median hourly rate was 25% lower. HS2 said just 0.3% of women and 0.3% of men had received bonuses during the reporting period, and that bonuses paid to women had been 17% higher than those paid to men in both average and median terms.

The Pension Protection Fund, which is accountable to the Department for Work and Pensions, reported an hourly pay rate for women that is 24.9% lower than the average rate for men. Women’s median hourly pay was 20.4% lower. 

At the Post Office, which is overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, women’s average hourly pay was 17.5% lower than the rate for men; the median hourly rate was 13.1% lower.

One trend-bucker on gender pay was the HM Treasury-affiliated Royal Mint, which said its average hourly rate for female staff was 22.9% higher than that for men, but that women’s median pay was 12% lower than the figure for male employees. The Mint appointed Anne Jessopp as its first female chief executive and deputy master of the Mint last month.

Elsewhere, the DfT-owned Highways England reported an average hourly pay rate for women that was 5.4% lower than for men. It said the median hourly figure showed women’s pay to be 1.4% higher than that of men.

Infrastructure operator Network Rail's figures showed women’s average hourly pay to be 7% lower than for male employees, increasing to 11% lower by the median measure. According to its data, 99% of women and 99% of men received bonuses in the 12 months prior to its reporting date, with women's average bonuses said to be 11% higher than men's. Network Rail said there was no difference in the median bonus paid to staff.

The business said it was “proud of the progress” it was making on gender pay in a “historically male-dominated” industry, and said its median disparity figure was “substantially lower” than the UK average of 18.1%.

According to the National Audit Office there were 28 government-owned companies as of 2015. Not all government-owned companies have published gender-pay reports for 2017-18. 

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