Holyrood setting an example
Scottish civil service pay gap is narrowest in UK
A difference of just 0.6% in Scotland compares with an average 6.3% gap in Whitehall, while women in the Welsh Government are paid 4% lower than their male counter-parts.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the only Whitehall department where women, on average, are paid more than men.
The research, by business services firm EY, finds that the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has the biggest pay gap. Women in DECC’s senior team are paid, on average, 16.7% less than their male counterparts.
Neil MacLean, head of government and public sector at EY in Scotland, said: “Scotland’s public sector is a leading example in terms of equal pay. These figures prove Scotland is edging closer to eliminating the gender pay inequality and sets a fine example.
“However, disparity still exists in Scotland and the wider UK despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act proving legislation alone isn’t enough. There needs to be a concerted effort across the civil service to tackle the hidden economic and social barriers that stand in the way of equal pay for women.”
The UK is a top performer on the international stage when it comes to female representation in top Civil Service jobs. It ranks fourth in the G20 on the proportion of women among its senior central government officials, with 38.7%.
Canada tops the table (46.1%), while Australia comes second (40.1%) and South Africa third (39.8%). Compared to the other European country members of the G20, the UK leads the way with Italy in eighth place and France and Germany falling behind in 12th and 13th place respectively.
Scotland’s gender balance lags behind England (39%) and Wales (47%) but is still one of the leaders within Europe with the proportion of women in top public sector jobs at 35%. While the number of women MSPs has decreased at every election of the Scottish Parliament this imbalance is being addressed from the top.
Mr MacLean added: “We can expect the representation of women in senior government positions in Scotland to expand.
“Nicola Sturgeon set the agenda following her appointment as the first female First Minister of Scotland in 2014 when she selected a 50:50 gender balanced cabinet, only the third in the developed world at the time.
“Further measures are being taken to improve on female representation in civil service which when coupled with the small gender pay gap demonstrates the commitment of Scotland’s public sector to gender parity.”
EY’s research also notes that despite the UK’s good performance so far, Italy and Germany saw leading growth of 4% in the number of women in top public sector jobs in 2015, while the UK had the lowest growth of all the G20 European nations (2.5%).
Bjorn Conway, head of government and public sector at EY for the UK and Ireland, says: “For some years, the UK Civil Service has been working to increase the gender diversity of its senior management and it is great to see these efforts paying off. However, it is crucial that we maintain momentum.
“Our European neighbours are fast catching up through the introduction of policies that address the gender pay gap and increase female representation and the UK cannot afford to lose ground.
“The increase in representation is good news and with initiatives such as the 30% Club calling for a minimum level of women on FTSE 100 boards, 40% of women in senior roles in the Civil Service is a great indicator of progress.
“There is, of course, always more to do. By working to tackling unconscious bias, placing greater accountability on Permanent Secretaries for delivering diversity plans, and engaging by senior leaders in mentoring and coaching, we can ensure the UK Civil Service continues to lead the way, in the UK and across Europe, in promoting gender equality.”