Oxford City Council publishes annual Workforce Equality Report

Published: Friday, 4th December 2020

Oxford City Council has published its annual Workforce Equality Report, which includes the organisation’s gender pay gap.

It is a legal requirement for organisations to report on their annual gender pay gap, but the City Council has gone further this year by also reporting its ethnicity pay gap, and promising to do the same in relation to its disabled employees next year.

It is the first time the City Council has reported on its ethnicity pay gap.

Gender Pay Gap

Key data from the report:

  • The gender composition of the City Council’s workforce has remained static at 59% female. This is above the national average of 47% female
  • Women are underrepresented in senior management roles. Women represent 66.7% in the lower pay quartile, but 45.6% in the top pay quartile
  • The median gender pay gap fell from 12.1% in 2019 to 11.9% in 2020
  • The City Council’s average gender pay gap at 12.3 % which is better than the national average. This stands at 17.3% in 2019

A significant contributor to the gender pay gap is thought to be the high number of women at the City Council who are employed part-time in lower graded jobs. Thirty five percent of women work on a part-time basis, compared to 12% of men – and part-time female workers are predominantly younger and on lower pay grades.

The Council has agreed to do more analysis to see whether there is a link between part time working and progression to more senior roles.

Ethnicity pay gap

Key data from the report:

  • The proportion of BAME employees working for the City Council has increased from 11.95% in 2018 to 12.9% in 2020. However, this is still less representative than the city’s economically active population, which is 18.7% BAME, according to the last Census
  • At the lower quartile and lower-middle quartile pay grades, the City Council’s workforce more accurately reflects Oxford’s population (20.48% and 16.27% BAME  respectively), but the number of BAME employees in the upper-middle and top quartiles does not (12.05% and 7.23%, respectively)
  • The City Council’s median ethnicity pay gap, which is 9.4%, is higher than both the median for the South East and the national average (5.9% and 2.3%, respectively)
  • However, City Council BAME employees are paid more than their regional and national counterparts – £16.10 per hour, compared to £12.38 across the South East and £12.11 across England and Wales

It is thought that the ethnicity pay gap at the City Council is due to a lack of representation in the upper-middle and top pay quartiles.

The gender and ethnicity pay gaps are not an equal pay issue. The City Council has a job evaluation scheme to determine pay that is based on the duties and responsibilities of each job, with no reference to the characteristics of any job holders.

Wider workforce representation

The City Council performs well compared to national averages on other protected characteristics, including:

  • The number of City Council employees who have declared themselves as having a disability is 10.8%. Nationally, 8.9% of the city’s economically active population has declared themselves as disabled
  • The number of City Council employees who have declared themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual is 3.5%. Nationally, 2.0% of the population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual

Tackling the ethnicity and gender pay gap

The City Council is planning a range of initiatives to tackle the gender and ethnicity pay gaps by attracting and developing talent, including:

  • Launching a gender-balanced race advisory group to advise the City Council on the best ways to attract a more diverse workforce
  • Simplifying the job application process to make it as accessible as possible
  • Making interview panels more diverse, so they more closely reflect Oxford’s community – and the people the City Council wants to attract
  • Developing talented BAME employees so they can progress into senior management positions at the City Council

These proposals build on a range of existing equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives, which include:

  • Mandatory staff training on inclusion and unconscious bias
  • A staff equality, diversity and inclusion week
  • Work experience placements targeted at BAME young people
  • An ethnicity- and gender-blind shortlisting process for job applications
  • Utilising intelligence from exit interviews to continuously improve the experience of working for Oxford City Council
  • Next year’s Workforce Equality Report is also committed to reporting on the disability pay gap and understand the relationships or intersectionality between gender, ethnicity and disability

Oxford City Council pays all its employees at least the Oxford Living Wage to recognise the high cost of living in Oxford. This is set at 95% of the London Living Wage and, in for 2020/21, is £10.21 an hour.

“Our workforce should reflect Oxford’s community. When residents interact with the City Council, they should meet people who look like them, understand their life experiences and want to do all they can to help. There is no doubt a more diverse workforce and senior leadership produces better, more relevant services for the city.

“We work hard to recruit and nurture talented Oxford residents, but clearly we still have more to do in recruiting BAME residents, particularly in leadership positions within the organisation. Through the relationships we have developed with local community groups, especially during this Covid period, we are on the right track to improve our services for everyone’s benefit.  

“If you are reading this and you are a BAME resident of Oxford, please do consider applying to work for Oxford City Council. Our goal is to build a world-class city for everyone, but we cannot do that without people like you.”

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services

To view and apply for job vacancies at the City Council, please visit: www.oxford.gov.uk/jobs.