19th May, 2019

Solihull Council's median gender pay gap highest of West Midlands local authorities

Felix Nobes 9th Apr, 2018 Updated: 10th Apr, 2018

SOLIHULL council’s median gender pay gap is the highest of all West Midlands local authorities.

There is a 27 per cent difference between the hourly pay of men and women among its employees at the council.

Although this gap would be significantly reduced by taking into consideration the number of females in lower paid roles – such as caterers.

The Equality Act in 2010 forced all companies with more than 250 employees to reveal the average difference between male and female employees by midnight on Wednesday last week.

The council claims it is “committed to and ensures men and women doing the same job are paid on the same grade.”

But the median gender pay gap – the standard method used to measure between organisations – does not measure the gap in pay for employees performing the same roles.

The council disclosed a median gender pay gap of 27.2 per cent which means for every £1 earned by a man, a woman effectively makes 73p.

This is significantly higher than the national average of 18.4 per cent.

The median pay gap is the difference between the midpoint hourly pay rate of men and women.

However, Solihull recorded an average (mean) gender pay gap of only 18.6 per cent which is almost in line with the national average of 17.4 per cent.

The pay gap is calculated using figures compiled nationally since March 31 last year.

The next highest median gender pay gap for West Midlands councils is Cannock Chase District Council with 26.9 per cent.

Wyre Forest District Council revealed it has a 12.5 per cent gender pay gap in favour of women.

Solihull council however says it is proud of its record as a ‘fair employer’, with many women occupying higher paid professional roles within the council.

A council spokesperson said: “It is particularly positive to note that half of the council’s leadership team are female, as are 65 per cent of senior managers and 54 per cent of middle managers.”

Around three quarters of council employees are women and this is comparable to the workforce profile of council’s nationally – with 78 per cent of the country’s council employees being women.

However, there is still a wide disparity in bonus payments with mean and median differences around 20 per cent.

The council has explained the significant pay gaps by attributing them to the number of women in lower paid roles.

A Solihull Council spokesperson said: “A crucial factor in the gender pay gap figures is the extent to which workers within roles at the lower end of the pay scale are directly employed or the services are contracted out.

“In Solihull, employees in catering services to schools and academies are directly employed and of the 531 employees, 522 are women.

“If the council had taken the decision to outsource catering, as many other Councils have, the overall mean gender pay gap would reduce to 8.6 per cent and the median pay gap to 6.4 per cent.

“Following on from the reporting of the council’s Gender Pay Gap, work has already commenced on developing an action plan to achieve greater gender equality and this will be closely monitored by the Council’s Leadership Team and Elected Members.”

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