The Gender Pay Gap: As Deadline Looms, A Startling Picture Of Inequality In the Public Sector Is Revealed

With just hours to go before the final deadline for public sector employees to reveal their gender pay gap, the picture is already clear: across the UK, women working in schools, hospitals and for the government are consistently paid less than men. 

The pay gap is calculated as the difference between the average salaries of men and women. Public bodies employing 250 people or more must submit their pay gap figures to the government by Friday, or face legal action. 

Private firms and charities have until April 4 to submit their data.

As the data has trickled in over the last few weeks, a startling picture of inequality has emerged, with the largest discrepancies emerging in education and the NHS.

An estimated 9,000 employers are expected to submit their data, and campaigners say the whole process must force the government to look more closely at the clear institutional inequality facing women in the workplace. 

Sam Smethers, head of the Fawcett Society, said: “The public sector pay gap is narrower than the gap in the private sector but there are still issues that need to be addressed.

“The public sector matters for women because it is women who are overwhelmingly dependent on public services, so getting women into decision-making positions is key,” she said.

Private companies and charities must report their pay gaps by April 4, and though figures were still being submitted when we looked at the latest statistics, it was already clear who the worst offenders were.

We have examined the results submitted by NHS trusts and schools, and the results paint a portrait of a systemic problem at the heart of the UK’s public sector.  


Of all the NHS trusts which had reported by Thursday evening, the North East London NHS Foundation Trust had the largest mean hourly discrepancy of 41%. This means that women were paid 59p for every £1 their male colleagues earned.

Gender Pay Gap: The 10 worst NHS Trusts 

1. North East London NHS Foundation Trust – 41%

2. Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust – 38.9%

3. The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust – 38.5%

4. Doncaster Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust – 36.1%

5. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS trust – 35.5%

6. University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – 35.5%

7. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 34.2%

8. Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – 34%

9. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – 33.8%

10. Medway NHS Foundation Trust – 33.3%

Ahead of the final deadline on Friday, Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of the Women’s Budget Group, said it was important for organisations to use this data for real-world change. 

“The challenge now is for companies to think about why women in their organisations tend to be in low paid parts of it, and men in predominantly highly paid parts of the organisations,” she said. 


The gender pay gap statistics also revealed a startling difference in how women are paid compared to men in educational organisations.

Gender Pay Gap: the 10 worst educational organisations

1. Lunesdale Learning Trust – 60.6%

2. London Business School – 45%

3. Waterton Academy Trust – 42%

4. Berlesduna Academy Trust – 41.9%

5. Sussex Learning Trust – 41.6%

6. South Orpington Learning Alliance Multi-Academy Trust – 40.3%

7. Lion Academy Trust – 39.5%

8. Wigston Academies Trust – 39%

9. The Bentley Wood Trust – 39%

10. Fulston Manor Academies Trust – 38.3%

Sandra Bennett, principal officer in the employment and equal rights team at the National Education Union, said she was surprised that the statutory reporting had revealed such a high mean gender pay gap in the education sector.

“We knew from Department for Education statistics that there was a gap but we are shocked that the gap is so wide in some academy trusts,” Bennett said.

“Employers in the education sector must take urgent steps to stop and reverse the gender pay gap in schools. They must end discrimination in pay decisions, for example not offering pay progression to teachers who have been on maternity leave.

“They must ensure that recruitment panellists have equality training and that gender bias plays no part in promotion decisions. They must be more open to flexible working and job sharing in schools.”

Written by Lukas in March 30, 2018
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