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Women and men at Ipswich Council on near equal pay says report

PUBLISHED: 17:26 14 March 2018

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council  in Russell Road

Grafton House, the home of Ipswich Borough Council in Russell Road

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Men at Ipswich council earn an average of nearly 6% more than their female colleagues according to new figures to be discussed at next week’s meeting of the authority.

Borough council chief operating officer Helen Pluck. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILBorough council chief operating officer Helen Pluck. Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

But that is one of the smallest local authority pay differences in the county – and it is clear that men and women get the same pay as each for similar jobs.

The increased pay for men is mainly because there are more men among the top 25% of earners at the authority – in every other sector women outnumber them.

Of the total borough workforce, 47% are men and 53% are women. In the top 25%, 53% are men and 47% are women. Of the 30 people in the Senior Managers Group at the authority, nine are women.

The borough’s Chief Operating Officer, Helen Pluck, said she did not feel there was a “glass ceiling” at the authority that she had broken through to become the second most senior member of staff.

She said: “These figures show that men and women doing the same level of job get the same level of pay. That is how it should be – when people go for a job, we’re not interested in their gender – only in whether they are the best person for the job.”

The only reason for any gap was the fact that there were two male senior managers for every female one, she added.

“That is just the way it has happened at the moment. We don’t operate a quota system – I don’t think the women or the men would want that.”

At East Suffolk Council – Suffolk Coastal and Waveney – the gender pay gap is wider although the proportion of male to female employees across the two councils is the same as Ipswich at 47% to 53%.

At that council the pay gap for mean average wages is just over 13% – but in a report to councillors officers say this still compares favourably with the national average of public sector employers (nearly 18%).

The report says: “We want our staff to be able to achieve their potential, feeling valued and supported in a safe and healthy workplace.

“We wish to attract and retain good quality people, by offering great opportunities for interesting roles and career development.

“The Councils have a clear set of values and framework of expected behaviours which contribute to a culture based on trust and outcomes.”

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