Analysis of pay gap

The downward trajectory of our mean hourly pay gap is positive and is attributed to (i) an increase in the numbers of women in more senior grades and (ii) the targeting of 2022 pay increases towards lower paid colleagues, a higher proportion of which are women as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1 shows an increase in women in senior grades with 52% of colleagues in Grade 7 and 6 being women in March 2023, which increased from 50% in March 2022. The increase in the number of women in the higher earning grades has resulted in an increase in the mean salary for women, as shown in Figure 2, where there is now an equal split of women and men in the upper pay quartile, compared to only 49.7% for women in March 2022.

In addition, the 2022 pay award targeted higher pay increases at Executive Officer grade and below, providing higher increases for that population, where we have a higher proportion of women. This has also increased the mean hourly rate of pay for women, bringing it closer to that of men and reducing the mean pay gap.

Whilst we have seen improvements, we are not complacent and continue to explore and use new ways to support women to progress in their careers. We have a particular focus on addressing the under-representation of women at Senior Civil Service (SCS) grades and have several interventions in place as referenced below in the report, including the expansion of our Women into Leadership programme.

An “Attitudes to Promotion” survey was conducted for all Grade 6 and 7 employees in 2022 to explore the potential barriers to progression to senior grades in more detail. Several interventions were agreed by ONS’ People Committee in response to survey findings, including:

  • All G7 and above roles that are subject to recruitment action include a specific statement encouraging part time and job share applicants to apply.
  • Developing Leadership and Management training to include sections on the importance of role modelling; for example, working within expected patterns / hours, arranging meetings to avoid non-working days and right-sizing roles that are Part Time / job share, all of which, if not considered disproportionately affect the experience of female colleagues who are more likely to have a Part Time working pattern

Since this survey was run and the interventions implemented, we have reached gender parity at Grade 6

Whilst the mean pay gap has improved the median gap has worsened from 1.2% in 2022 to 3.0% in 2023. This has occurred due to the introduction of the Government Digital and Data (formally DDaT) Pay Framework. This provides enhanced pay for certain Digital and Data roles at grades SEO to Grade 6. The majority of these roles are filled by men, with relatively low numbers of women within the profession (in March 2023, 37% of colleagues in Digital and Data roles were female).

Grades SEO, Grade 7 and Grade 6 make up 40% of the UK Statistics Authority population and when including the SCS, approximately the middle grades in the pay structure, and therefore anything that disproportionately affects men in these grades will impact on the median pay gap. Various initiatives are being undertaken by the Government Digital and Data profession at UK Statistics Authority to improve the accessibility of job descriptions and the recruitment process with the aim of attracting more women into the profession.

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