Civil service suffering from institutionalised gender pay inequality

08 Mar 2019

Civil service departments with predominantly female staff are paying less to workers doing the same job, than departments with more male staff, a new report by PCS reveals. 

Our analysis shows that comparable jobs in departments which employ a majority of men pay more than departments which employ a majority of women. The report divided civil service departments and grades into majority male (<40% female) and majority male (>60% female) and the group of departments in between. Comparisons showed:

  • A civil service executive officer, in a majority male department is paid £3771 (13%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department.
  • A civil service admin officer, in a majority male department is paid £2675 (12.6%) more than an executive officer in a majority female department.

This means women who work in female dominated departments will be earning a lot less than their male counterparts in male majority civil service departments.
Delegated pay penalises women

The report published this week to coincide with International Women’s Day highlights the role that the civil service system of “delegated pay”, has led to a gender pay deficit between departments.

In health and local government there are single pay systems covering millions of public sector workers. But in the civil service, for the last 20 years pay determination has been delegated to government departments. This has created the environment ripe for pay inequality, hundreds of different pay systems, which pay more or less to employees doing the same or comparable jobs.

Our analysis clearly demonstrates that in the civil service, your pay very much depends on the gender balance within your department or department grade. The stark reality is that comparable jobs in departments or grades which employ a majority of men pay more than departments or grades, which employ a majority of women.

Damning indictment

This analysis is a damning indictment of the delegated pay system, which has enabled departments with a majority of female employees, or majority female grades, to pay less than departments and grades which have men in the majority.

The civil service has argued that closing the gender pay gap is about promoting women into more senior jobs. While promoting women into senior posts is important, creating a single pay system for the UK civil service, which we argue for in our pay claim, would make gender pay segregation impossible. A significant rise for the lowest paid in the civil service would make a major contribution to pay equality; as our analysis has shown that the lowest paid grades in the lowest paid departments are where the majority of female civil servants work.

Departments which have a majority of women include DWP and HM Courts and Tribunal Service, and departments with a majority of men include the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, and Defence Equipment and Support.

Giving a speech at the Women’s TUC conference yesterday (7) ahead of International Women’s Day, PCS general secretary and TUC president Mark Serwotka said:

“64 years after women in the civil service were promised equal pay, they are still waiting.

“Delegated pay has institutionalised the gender pay gap for staff,” he said.

“Our analysis is a damning indictment of the delegated pay system, which has enabled departments with a majority of female employees, or majority female grades, to pay less than departments and grades which have men in the majority.

“This is why we demand national pay bargaining, an end to unequal pay and a decent pay rise across the board to give justice to our members.”

What you can do

Are you a PCS member paid less than a male colleague for doing the same job? Tell us your experience, email editor@pcs.org.uk. We may use your story in our pay campaign materials on and offline.

Help us close the gender pay gap and deliver pay justice for low-paid women in the civil service.

Volunteer for the PCS pay campaign to help fight for equal pay and email civil service CEO John Manzoni to urge him to act on pay and end years of pay restraint without ripping up your terms and conditions. So far, he has told us there is only 1% available to fund pay rises this year, so we have declared a ballot for strike action, which opens on 18 March.

 

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