‘Insult to hard work’: Gender pay gap in Welsh civil service increases over last 12 months
The Welsh Conservatives have criticised the Welsh Government after an FOI revealed that the gender pay gap in the Welsh Civil Service has increased over the past 12 months.
The organisation’s gender pay gap as at 31st March is 7.37%, an increase from 5.53% in March 2020.
While the organisation employs more women than men overall, they are not evenly spread across the grades. The majority of staff at lower grades are women.
The Welsh Government said that the increase was “disappointing” and was due to the “resignation of a number of very senior women”.
Welsh Conservative Senedd Group Chair, Laura Anne Jones MS, said that the stats stood in contrast with Labour’s own stated aim of cutting the gender pay gap in Wales.
“The latest data on the gender pay gap in Wales is highly concerning, women in Wales should feel confident in their earning potential but under Welsh Labour the pay gap is only being exacerbated,” she said.
“Women in the civil service should feel valued and respected, not only through words but by actions too, yet all we see is an ever increasing gap that insults their hard work.
“Mark Drakeford said that devolution allows for experimentation and for his radical policy ideas to be tried out, if this is his version of that then I shudder at the thought of what else is to come for women in Wales.
“It’s high time the Welsh Labour Government put its money where its mouth is and eradicated the gender pay gap once and for all.”
Responding to the FOI request, the Welsh Government said: “The increase in the gender pay gap this year is disappointing.
“We will continue to take action to address this by supporting women at all levels of the organisation to develop and further their careers, and continuing to strive for a gender balanced Senior Civil Service.”
They added: “While the organisation employs more women than men overall, they are not evenly spread across the grades. The majority of staff at lower grades are women. This was exacerbated in 2020-21 by the large number of women who joined the organisation at apprentice and Team Support level.
“This, coupled with the retirement and resignation of a number of very senior women, led our gender pay gap to increase for the first time in several years.
“In previous years, we have been able to reduce our gender pay gap by targeting pay awards at our lower paid staff – for example the 2019-20 pay award focused on the Welsh Government’s priorities around fair work and lower paid staff and staff at lower grades received a higher percentage salary increase that more senior staff.
“The 2020-21 pay award was the same percentage to staff at all grades so did not help us to reduce the gender pay gap.”