Gender pay gaps: academies among the worst in UK
The gender pay gap continues to blight the UK’s education sector, with recent analysis conducted by the Guardian unearthing the extent of the issue – and it’s very concerning.
The publication garnered data through the government’s national survey of gender pay, finding that women working in academy school chains face some of the worst pay gaps in the UK. In some cases, women in multi-academy trusts are dealing with a median hourly pay deficit of over 50%.
A total 24 organisations with the biggest gender pay gaps are multi-academy trusts, which are charity groups encouraged by the government to manage thousands of state schools.
The difficulty is that this is not a case of pay between people in the same role being unequal. The Guardian explains that the figures raise concerns that academy chains are channelling higher salaries to a ‘sliver’ of male-dominated senior roles.
Furthermore, in these academies, pay is significantly higher than salaries in schools governed by local authorities.
One of the worst offenders is Schoolsworks Academy Trust, a chain of six schools in West Sussex with a median pay gap of 62%. To put that into perspective, this means that women earn 38 pence for every £1 earned by a man.
The Wakefield City Academies Trust, which collapsed in 2017 while leading 21 schools, was found to have a pay gap of 52%, according to median hourly pay.
Commenting on the data, Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said it was “deeply alarming.”
“These figures are extremely disappointing. Pay in some multi-academy trusts is out of control, skewed to benefit a few at the top and now proven to reward men far higher than women. The government is entrenching inequality in the education system,” she added.
The Guardian’s analysis included 3,500 companies and public bodies that had reported their gender pay figures. It sadly reveals that schools are some of the worst places for pay equality, even though teaching is the UK’s most popular career choice for female graduates.
Around 70% of the over-200 multi-academy trusts that reported their pay data had a median hourly pay gap worse than the UK average of 18.4%, recorded by the Office for National Statistics.
Although these results are disappointing, and some might say alarming, it is positive to see that some schools continue to pioneer gender equality when it comes to pay. For example, the aptly-named Equals Trust – a chain of eight primary schools based in Nottingham – had a 0.1% median pay advantage in favour of females.
Whether you’re a male or female teacher or senior leader, your role involves the same amount of work and dedication. Women deserve to be treated and paid equally to their male counterparts, and it’s a shame to see this problem is still so prevalent in our industry. Were you shocked by the statistics, too?