More than 100 NHS trusts have a worse gender pay gap than a year ago

One year since the first gender pay gap figures were published, women working in the public sector in England are paid even less than their male counterparts. Whereas public bodies reported a median gender pay gap of 14% last year, analysis by the Guardian shows that far from decreasing, it has increased slightly to 14.1%.

All organisations with more than 250 employees have to publish their gender pay gap data. The deadline for the public sector was 31 March, while charities and companies have until 4 April to report. The median gap is the difference in hourly pay between the employee in the middle of the range of male wages and the middle employee in the range of female wages.

The health service fared particularly badly. Despite a predominantly female workforce and rigorous pay scales put in place more than 15 years ago to prevent pay inequality, men working in NHS trusts are paid 10% more than their female peers. The figures follow revelations last week that female doctors in England typically earn £1,166 less a month than their male counterparts, according to government-commissioned research.

The size of the disparity at individual NHS trusts is also increasing. Whereas last year 19 NHS trusts had median pay gaps of 20% or above, this year 24 did, while 60 had gaps in excess of the public sector median of 14.1%. In all, 125 trusts’ pay gaps have worsened, widening their average median pay gap from 9.2% to 10.1%.

The Queen Victoria Hospital NHS foundation trust in West Sussex reported the highest pay gap of almost 40%, despite women making up more than half of the highest earners and 83% or more of all other pay levels at that trust. A trust spokeswoman said the gap was due to 54 of their highest-earning consultants being male, compared with only 18 female consultants. “This will change as we appoint more female consultants and as our current female doctors progress into more senior roles.” Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham reported gaps of 28.4% and 27.8% respectively.

But these gaps pale into insignificance compared to those posted by other health providers. Vida Healthcare, which runs nursing homes in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, reported a median gap of 79.3% – the biggest in the entire public sector. It is followed by Suffolk GP Federation with 74.8%. Community Dental Services reported a gap of 61%, and another super GP practice, Modality Partnership in Birmingham has a 60.7% gap, while Intrahealth, which runs GP practices and pharmacies in the north-east, has a median gap of 57.4%.

David Pannell, chief executive of the Suffolk GP Federation, says its gap is due to the “relative lack of women doctors in senior positions within our organisation”, combined with the fact that 95.5% of its lowest earners are women. “We are committed to closing our gender pay gap, but achieving this will take us some time,” says Pannell. “We believe it will require a combination of deliberate actions and a change in our culture, such as senior leadership development programmes and ensuring all our employees are afforded a more flexible working environment. We value all our employees greatly and are committed to making sure everyone is paid fairly for the job they do, regardless of gender.”

According to Nic Hammarling, head of diversity at specialist diversity consultancy Pearn Kandola, women are much better represented at senior levels in the public sector than they are in the private sector. However, even in those organisations where women make up nearly half the senior grades, there is often still a significant gender pay gap. She says this is largely driven by women being disproportionately represented at the most junior grades. “There is an issue with how female talent at the bottom of the organisation is being developed and progressed, but also female talent is often recruited in junior roles with limited promotion prospects…”

Read the full article on The Guardian.


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