Over the last twelve months, New College Swindon has made great progress to narrow the gender pay gap. The UK’s median gender pay gap is currently 17.9% and the education sector median is 25.9%. At 8.2%, New College’s median pay gap is well below the UK and sector averages.
An action plan to reduce the gap was implemented last year, and these changes have contributed towards the progress that has been made so far. These changes resulted in the median measurement of the pay gap reducing significantly by 21.5 percent – more than two thirds in a year. Points of the plan included a detailed assessment of starting salaries, backed up with tracking and monitoring for all new staff, a review of the college’s Pay and Grading Policy and Procedure and a review of pay scales. The college also complied with 2017 statutory regulations on pay audits and further promoted the family friendly flexible working opportunities to encourage both male and female staff with caring responsibilities, to discuss arrangements which will not inhibit career progression.
Further changes have also been put in place that the college believes will continue to support their commitment to narrowing the gap. In September 2018, the Learning Support Assistant team moved up a whole pay scale, the team is made up of 26 employees, 96% female. In August 2019 the college will be shortening the academic pay scale, by removing two points. This will reduce the time it takes to access top pay points, which will be beneficial to female lecturers who, on average, have shorter service than their male counterparts.
New College reviews all of its policies and practices to ensure that discrimination does not occur and are confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work. The gender pay gap is the result of the roles in which men and women work within the organisation and the salaries that these roles attract.
Across the UK as a whole, men are more likely than women to be in senior roles, especially very senior roles at the top of organisations, while women are more likely than men to be in front line roles at the lower end of the organisation. Many women take time out of the labour market and work part time because of unequal sharing of care responsibilities which affects career progression.
Staff with caring responsibilities are well served at New College with options including flexible working patterns, part time and term time contracts, one-year career breaks, and a nursery offering a 5% discount near the main site. In particular the rate of return after maternity leave is high with contract flexibility available.
Maureen Debbage, Vice Principal Human Resources, said: “We are delighted with our significant improvement. This has been due to early identification of the gender pay gap, even before the compulsory reporting, followed by immediate actions to improve. This has demonstrated our full commitment to narrowing the gap and we will continue to demonstrate that commitment going forwards.”