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Revealed: Men at Suffolk County Council earn 15% more than women, according to new report

PUBLISHED: 13:47 16 March 2018

Endeavour House, Suffolk County Council HQ, in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Endeavour House, Suffolk County Council HQ, in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The difference in wages between men and women at Suffolk County Council is nearly 15% according to new figures to be debated by the authority next week.

Councillor Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council. Picture: GREGG BROWNCouncillor Jane Storey, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council. Picture: GREGG BROWN

But while men on average earn more than women at the county council, they are heavily outnumbered. Females make up 71% of the authority’s payroll.

Significantly, they make up a majority of every level of staff at the county – from the least-paid 25% to the highest-paid 25%. The authority’s acting chief executive is Sue Cook and her predecessor was Deborah Cadman.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said one of the main reasons for the gender pay gap was because a significant proportion of the women on the payroll who were part-time and were keen to fit their work around family commitments.

He pointed out that Suffolk’s gender pay gap was in line with the national average for local authorities and the public sector generally.

The details of the difference in pay is due to be reported at next week’s meeting of the council – all public sector bodies with more than 250 employees have to publish details of their gender pay gap.

Suffolk’s mean average pay gap is 14.8% (national average 17.4%). The bottom-paid quarter of the workforce is 16% men and 84% women while in the highest-earning quarter the proportion is 38% men and 62% women.

Deputy council leader Jane Storey is responsible for equality issues at the authority. She was happy that the council provided so many job opportunities that appealed to women.

She said: “I think it is fair to say that a lot of the jobs at the county council, like office work and some of the caring work that we do, appeal to women.

“And we are able to offer very flexible work – allowing people to work part-time and fit their work in with their family commitments – and again that is attractive to many women workers. I am proud of the fact that we have more women working at all levels of the authority.”

Labour group leader Sarah Adams said: “Whatever you say, 15% is a fair old gap and needs to be addressed.

“Given the fact that many of 
the people at the bottom of the wage structure are women, I 
think it is even more important that we sign up to the Living Wage – that would certainly ease the pay gap.”

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