The Royal College of Nursing has this week pledged to continue to work to close its gender pay gap, which it said was mainly the result of employing more men in senior positions.
RCN members attending the college’s annual general meeting in Belfast yesterday were told that its mean gender pay gap during 2017 had been calculated as 12.6%. Meanwhile, it if was calculated as a median average, it was slightly higher at 13.7%.
“We will continue this work and strive to make further progress”
Speaking during the AGM on Wednesday afternoon, RCN honorary treasurer Dave Dawes highlighted that the gap was not because the college paid men for doing the same work as women.
Rather, it was driven by a greater proportion of men in senior posts at the college, he told members at the meeting, which directly followed its annual congress.
For example, figures published in the RCN’s 2017 annual report show that the percentage of men employed in its top roles compared to women is much closer in size than in its less well-paid roles.
The RCN splits its around 1,000 staff into four pay quartiles, with the upper most one comprising 34% men and 66% women.
However, the percentage of men versus women falls in order of pay scale through the other three quartiles, meaning males are more likely to be in higher paid roles than women.
“The pay gap for the RCN results from a disproportionate number of men in more senior roles”
In the upper middle quartile, 31% are men and 69% are women and in the lower middle quartile 24% are men and 76% are women. But, in the lowest quartile, just 16% are men compared with 84% of women.
Regulations requiring employers with over 250 employees to publish data on their gender pay gaps came into effect on 6 April 2017.
However, the college noted that it had carried out two previous internal audits on the issue – in 2010 and again in 2016, though it said the methodology differed slightly from the current one.
The earlier audits suggest the college is making progress. In 2010, it had a mean gender pay gap of 27.3%, falling to 15.8% in 2016.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies said: “The RCN has voluntarily published information on its gender pay gap for several years and taken a number of steps to reduce it.
“We have halved the gap in the last seven years but there is still work to be done,” said Ms Davies in a statement for Nursing Times.
She said the RCN had “lead the way with robust job evaluation and banding”, in order to ensure men and women were paid “exactly the same amount for doing the same work”.
“The pay gap for the RCN, as in other organisations, results from a disproportionate number of men in more senior roles,” she noted.
“For some time we have been taking steps to improve the balance of our gender profile at all levels, including the most senior, and to develop future leaders regardless of gender,” said Ms Davies. “We will continue this work and strive to make further progress.”
Ms Davies, who has been in post for nearly three years, took over from Peter Carter as chief executive and general secretary in 2015.
In March this year, the RCN published a separate report outlining its latest statistics on the gender pay gap. It set out a number of moves designed to make greater progress in balancing the male/female profile across its various pay grades.
These moves included collecting more data on promotions and recruitment, as well as boosting support for those wanting to return to work after maternity and paternity leave.
RCN gender pay gap