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Civil service women see gender pay gap increase

14th Oct 2016

Female civil servants’ earnings have fallen further behind those of their male colleagues, with official figures showing that women are being paid less than men on average at every level of the civil service.

The overall difference in median pay between men and women widened to 13.6% in March from 12% a year earlier. The gender pay gap for full-time employees increased to 12% from 9%. However, it narrowed for part-time employees to 11.5% from 15.4%.

The figures showed that women made up a bigger proportion of the civil service than men overall, but continued to be outnumbered by men at more senior grades.

The widening pay gap appears to be at odds with the trend for the economy as a whole, which shows the UK’s gender pay gap slowly narrowing. It edged down to 9.4% for full-time employees in 2015, the lowest since records began in 1997. However, that gap is not directly comparable with the civil service figures as it covers an earlier period and is based on hourly pay without overtime. The civil service pay gaps figures, on the other hand, are based on annual salaries.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also showed that job cuts continued in the civil service in the latest financial year, with civil service employment in March at 418,343, a decrease of 15,469, or 3.6%, from a year earlier.

The Institute for Government (IFG) noted that the number of civil servants had fallen 20% in full-time equivalent terms since 2010, when the coalition government took power and cut spending.

However, the ONS figures also showed that, of those who declared their ethnicity, 11.2% were from an ethnic minority, up slightly on 2015. Of those who declared their disability status, 9.2% were disabled, also a small increase on 2015.

“It is encouraging that the proportion of BAME [black, Asian and minority ethnic], staff and staff with a disability who work in the civil service [is] at the highest ever level across all grades. But we know that there is still more to do,” said the Cabinet Office spokeswoman.