The gender pay gap in Sheffield has been revealed, with men’s wages outstripping women’s at nearly three quarters of major employers within the city.
Companies and other organisations in the UK with 250 or more staff must now reveal the difference in earnings between their male and female employees, under new rules brought in to tackle the pay imbalance between the sexes.
In Sheffield, at those bodies which reported by yesterday’s deadline, median hourly earnings for men are on average 10.6 per cent higher than for women.
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That’s slightly below the average gap of 12 per cent for the 10,000-plus organisations nationally to have submitted figures.
Men are paid more on average at 72 per cent of organisations within Sheffield, with women receiving the same or more at 28 per cent.
Mercia Learning Trust, which runs six schools in Sheffield including King Ecgbert School in Dore, has the biggest median pay gap within the city, with men earning 59.6 per cent more on average. That means women there earn 40p for every £1 received by men.
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It is one of four education trusts in the city where the pay gap is 20 per cent or more, along with Aston Community Education Trust, Tapton School Academy Trust and Wales High School Academy Trust.
At the other end of the scale, Intracave, which runs franchises for firms including KFC and Costa Coffee, pays women 18 per cent more on average.
Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield Hallam University, South Yorkshire Police and the law firm Irwin Mitchell are among the city’s other major employers with a gender pay gap of 15 per cent or more in favour of men.
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The median gender pay gap nationally is 9.1 per cent for full-time workers, according to the Office for National Statistics, rising to 18.4 per cent when part-time roles are taken into account.
A gender pay gap does not necessarily mean men are paid more than women for doing the same job, which is illegal, but generally indicates men are more likely to occupy senior, better-paid positions at that firm.
Firms must publish a mean and median pay gap but the latter tends to be preferred since it compares the wages of the middle-earning female and male employees and is less easily skewed by a handful of top-earning staff.
Mercia said it was ‘committed to equal pay’ and the main reason for the large gap was the number of women working in traditionally female-dominated roles like cleaners and lunchtime supervisors, which are lower-paid.
It pointed out that women also outnumber men in the highest-earning quarter of employees, which it claimed shows women are ‘able to progress within the trust at the same and higher rate as males’.
At Sheffield Council, men earn 8.4 per cent more than women, while at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the gap is 9.3 per cent in favour of men.
Amey, the contractor responsible for repairing and maintaining Sheffield’s streets, pays men 30 per cent more on average; and the council’s waste contractor Veolia pays male employees in the city 2.9 per cent more than women.
South Yorkshire Police said it offered equal pay for staff doing the same job and was ‘committed’ to reducing the gender pay gap by, among other measures, looking at the work-life balance for employees and better supporting women to progress through the ranks.
Veolia said it was ‘proud’ of its efforts to increase diversity within the company, and was developing its female-focused leadership programme as part of measures to further cut the pay gap.
Sheffield International Venues, which runs cultural and leisure facilities including FlyDSA Arena Sheffield and Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, is among a handful of organisations within the city without any disparity in median pay for men and women.
Its chief executive Andrew Snelling said: “There is no specific gender policy in place other than employing the best people through a fair and transparent recruitment process. As well as gender, we work had to remove age discrimination, with our staff being paid the same hourly rate regardless of how old they are.”
Isobel Thomas, from the Sheffield branch of the Women’s Equality Party, said the figures did not come as a shock but that made them no less disappointing.
She urged companies and the Government to do more to address the pay gap by for, example, introducing free universal childcare for all, encouraging more men to share parental leave with their partners so bringing up children was not a barrier to career progression.
She said other factors included more more women traditionally working in lower paid industries and roles, and what she described as an ‘unconscious gender bias’ which meant men were more likely to be recruited to senior roles ‘because their face fits’.
“Requiring larger organisations to publish their gender pay gap is a great first step. We’re now encouraging them to say what they’re going to do about it,” she added.
“If the problem is there aren’t enough women in senior management roles, what will they do to make sure women are being developed and promoted?
“If they’re in an industry which is traditionally male-dominated, what are they doing to attract more women.
“There is good practice out there and we want to see firms that are getting it right sharing what they’re doing with other companies so they can follow suit.”
Irwin Mitchell said its pay gap was smaller than for most law firms but it would continue working to reduce the disparity through measures including the development of leadership development programmes.
Amey said some of its most senior staff in Sheffield are women but the construction and engineering sector had historically struggled to attract and retain female workers.
Its efforts to narrow the gap include creating a Women at Amey network and investing in specialised leadership training to help women climb the ranks, and teaming up with the youth group Girlguiding to launch an engineering badge.
Sheffield Wednesday’s chief executive Katrien Meire said: “As one of the few female football CEOs in office, I am pleased that the publication of this report will start increasing awareness of the importance of equal pay.”
She added that at a professional male football club figures would always be ‘skewed’, but away from the field the Owls were ‘committed to parity irrespective of gender’.
“Overall, I am confident that throughout the club, we have dedicated, talented staff who individually and collectively will be given every chance to achieve their career ambitions at Sheffield Wednesday.”
Sheffield United put the large pay gap down to being within a historically male-dominated industry and said it was committed to offering women better access to career opportunities.
It added that it believes ‘change starts in the club’s wider community’, which is why it is determined to make the Blades somewhere women can see ‘positive and inspiring images of women in football’.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said its pay gap was relatively small but the trust was continuing to take steps to reduce it, which include working with the Women in Medicine Network – set up by one of its employees, Dr Alenka Brooks – to encourage more women to take up leadership and consultant roles, and raising awareness of shared parental leave entitlement.
WHAT IS THE GENDER PAY GAP AT SHEFFIELD EMPLOYERS? (median pay gap, highest to lowest)
Mercia Learning Trust: 59.6
Linbrooke Services: 39.8
Sheffield United FC: 38.3
Sumo Digital: 34.5
Benchmark Holdings: 32.1
Aston Community Education Trust: 32
Tapton School Academy Trust: 32
Insight Direct (UK): 29
JG Pears (Holdings): 28.1
Sheffield Wednesday FC: 23
Outokumpu Stainless: 22.7
South Yorkshire Police: 21.7
Sherwin-Wililams Diversified Brands: 21.6
Wales High School Academy Trust: 21.1
Sheffield Hallam University: 16.2
Irwin Mitchell: 15.9
Firth Rixson Forgings: 15.7
NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group: 15
The Sheffield College: 14.7
Banner Group: 14.5
Learners’ Trust: 12
Firth Rixson Metals: 11.5
Avdel UK: 11.1
University of Sheffield: 11.1
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: 10.2
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust: 9.3
The A&S Leisure Group: 9
Sheffield Council: 8.4
CPL Distribution: 8.3
Supply Desk: 8.2
South Yorkshire Housing Association: 8.1
B Braun Medical: 7.6
HTC Wolffkran: 7.2
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust: 7.1
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue: 7
Symmetry Medical Sheffield: 6
B Braun Avitum UK: 5.2
Sheffield Forgemasters Engineering: 4.4
Jeld-Wen UK: 3
First South Yorkshire: 2.1
Red Contractors: 2
Gleeson Developments: 0.7
Go Outdoors: 0.7
Learndirect Apprenticeships: 0.4
Autism Plus: 0
Forde Recruitment: 0
Massarella Gelaterie: 0
Massarella Restaurants: 0
OH Assist: 0
Sheffield International Venues: 0
Unicus Sheffield: 0
Excel Parking Services: -0.7
Ark Home Healthcare: -0.9
Linear Recruitment: -1
Sig Trading: -2.5
Vow Europe: -3.1
University of Sheffield Union of Students: -4
Arnold Laver & Company: -4.6
Arconic Manufacturing: -7.2
7 Hills Leisure Trust: -15.7
* a negative figure indicates women are paid more on average than men