Wednesday 8 March 2023
Today is International Women’s Day and we’re shining a spotlight on some of the many amazing women within our organisation who deserve recognition.
Visit our social media channels to join us in celebrating the achievements of women to inspire other women to achieve their full potential. Find us on:
But first we want to let you know that these aren't just warm words
Gender inequality is always on our radar, but on special days, like today, there’s an even sharper focus on the issue for organisations everywhere.
We believe that we need more women leading in our organisation to make our county even more successful. We’re continuing to work hard to tackle gender inequality in the workplace and break down barriers that prevent women from reaching the top.
So what have we actually done?
We have removed ‘core’ hours to enable our staff to strike a better work life balance that enhances our already family-friendly approach.
We offer development opportunities for women into leadership through a sponsorship programme that pairs talented women with champions at a senior management level.
We’ve signed a pledge to ensure all our staff experiencing the menopause feel fully supported at work and established a Menopause Support Network.
We’ve introduced advanced equality, diversity and inclusion training, including a module designed to support recruiting managers to deliver equitable recruitment campaigns.
We support ‘Inspiring Girls’, an Exeter-based programme which pairs year 9/10 girls from local secondary schools with business women in the area to provide mentorship around career aspirations.
Women are more likely to take breaks in their career to fulfil caring responsibilities and therefore forfeit pension contributions. So, we’ve introduced support so that all staff can have better access and advice to make informed decisions around additional pension contributions.
What about the Gender Pay Gap?
The Gender Pay Gap is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed as a percentage difference relative to men’s earnings.
It’s an indicator of the differences in opportunity and choices of men and women within the workplace.
Our workforce is made up of:
- 47 per cent full-time female staff
- 26 per cent part-time female staff
- 23 per cent full-time male staff
- 4 per cent part-time male staff
We’ve been working hard to reduce our Gender Pay Gap, and it is moving in the right direction, having got smaller since 2021, but there's still work to be done.
Across all of our employees, excluding casual or variable staff, our median earnings for male staff is £16.98; compared to £14.39 for female staff.
That’s a median gap of 15.24 per cent. The average median gap, according to the Office of National Statistics, is 14.9 per cent.
What’s causing it and what are we doing about it?
Analysis of the data suggests that our gap is mainly caused by a high percentage of women in lower graded posts, rather than a high percentage of males in higher graded posts.
We have a high proportion of front-line services that are traditionally female dominated, such as caring and administrative roles, which are typically paid at lower hourly rates.
A lot of those lower graded posts can be performed part-time, and our flexible working and family-friendly policies mean that those posts most commonly attract women, because, they feel, those conditions better suit their personal requirements.
In order for us to continue reducing the pay gap, we need balance in the gender ratios through the different grades of post.
We can do that by increasing the proportion of males in lower graded roles and increasing the proportions of females in higher graded roles.
Our data, and national statistics, show that the gender pay gap increases significantly for people over 40 years old, and it’s widely felt that this is due to more women taking career breaks and working part-time to facilitate caring responsibilities.
Perimenopause and menopause typically occur between the ages of 45 and 55 years old. 73 per cent of our workforce are female, and 71.4 per cent of our workforce are over the age of 40.
So what’s next?
So while our Gender Pay Gap has reduced since 2021 for all employees, there is still work to be done. We are making progress though.
The percentage of females in the upper quartile has increased by 2.7 per cent since 2021, which we hope will continue through our programme of coaching and mentoring.
We're encouraging women into traditionally male dominated roles and more senior posts. We're also encouraging men into traditionally female dominated roles and to make use of the flexible working and family-friendly policies.
Our next steps are to use recruitment data to identify causes and actions that may reduce the gap such as exploring gender ratio in different services, and through the recruitment stages for junior and senior posts.
We're also implementing a Resolution Policy to improve trust, help to strengthen relationships, and build a safe and supportive environment that improves the culture of the authority, which should have a positive impact on our predominantly female workforce.
Devon Work Hubs embracing equity
We're not the only ones celebrating International Women's Day. Our Devon Work Hubs network is also helping to celebrate and amplify the visibility and achievements of the women who use their coworking spaces.
Stacey Sheppard, founder of The Tribe, a coworking space for female entrepreneurs in Totnes, which is part of our Devon Work Hubs network, says:
"Gender equality is obviously the goal that we as a society are working towards so that men and women can benefit from the same resources and opportunities. Forging gender equity isn't just the job of women though, it's a collective responsibility, and International Women's Day gives us all a great opportunity to show our support."
You can read more from Stacey at The Tribe, Katy at The Generator Hub in Exeter, Jen, a freelance illustrator and designer, Cath, a sustainability consultant and marketing strategist, and others, in the feature story on our news page today.