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Gender pay gap in education has worsened over the last decade

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#EqualPayDay – Women locked out of growing sectors as the gender pay gap widens  

Today marks this year’s Equal Pay Day (18th November), the day where women effectively, on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.

Equal Pay Day is a national campaign led by The Fawcett Society in the UK. It marks the day where women effectively on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap. 

The gender pay gap for all UK employees increased in the year up to April 2021, recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.

This year, Equal Pay Day is marked on 18th November, two days earlier than last year’s Equal Pay Day 2020 (20th Nov), due to the pandemic’s impact on women, leading to the gender pay gap widening.

This comes eight days after women living in the European Union effectively begin working for free, according to the EU commission. 

Unfortunately, this year, the gender pay gap in the UK is 11.9%, which is an increase from 10.6% last year. The data, which was pulled from the ONS Gender Pay Gap in the UK 2021 report, highlights that younger women are facing a rising gender pay gap.

After a few years of consecutive progress towards closing the gap, this year’s set back reflects Covid-19’s disproportionate impact on women across all facets of their lives, as well as a lack of mandatory action plans from the government to tackle the gender pay gap head on. Research collated by the House of Commons has shown that women were more likely to be in sectors shut down by Covid, and were more likely to have lost their job or been furloughed.

Commenting on Equal Pay Day, Thursday 18 November 2021, NAHT, WomenEd, ASCL and NGA discuss findings from a forthcoming joint report** which reveals that in education, regardless of school phase or structure, men are typically still earning more than women – and the more senior the position, the wider the gap becomes.

Paul Whiteman 100x100Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

 “We’ve seen school leadership pay eroded for everyone over the last decade, but it seems that for our female school leaders there has been a ‘double hit.’

“Our forthcoming report is intended to continue this much needed conversation, helping to empower our members and female leaders everywhere, and use our platform to press for the changes in the system that are sorely needed.”

Vivienne Porritt, Co-founder and Global Strategic Leader, WomenEd, said: 

“In WomenEd we hear of many examples where women are paid less than men for the same role and with the same or greater experience. Our forthcoming report shows that such inequality is more significant than women realise.

“We want women to know that they have a right to talk about pay and to challenge any pay inequality so that, collectively, and in collaboration with other sector organisations, we can make a difference for all women leaders and educators.”

Rachael Warwick, ASCL Past President, said: 

“ASCL has put its work on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) front and centre over the last three years. We’re all familiar with the oft quoted and stubbornly static statistics regarding the lower numbers of women leaders in our schools and colleges, particularly those with protected characteristics and the compelling arguments for the need for change.

“Not only is this a moral imperative but we know that more diverse groups make better decisions, bringing a myriad of perspectives to the table and avoiding ‘the warm glow of homophily’ which Matthew Syed articulates so convincingly in his book, ‘Rebel Ideas’. As a leadership organisation, ASCL has a responsibility, and the influence amongst our 21,000 members, to make a positive difference. We need female leaders to represent the profession.  We will support our membership to take these much-needed steps.”

Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive, National Governance Association, said:

 “Governing boards determine the organisation’s pay policy and have a very specific role in setting the pay of the most senior leader. Employers need to ensure themselves that all staff are treated fairly, equitably, and lawfully. We need to encourage and reward all the talent within schools and trusts. It is through developing our staff that we will provide the best possible education for pupils.

“The National Governance Association is committed to ensuring boards have all the information they need to do this well without a gender penalty. Governing boards are in prime position to effect change by ensuring a healthy organisational culture which is open to giving equalities, diversity, and inclusion active and on-going consideration.”

Agata Nowakowska 100x100Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft

“It’s no secret that the pandemic has disproportionately affected working women, with pre-existing inequalities exacerbated in a world impacted by job losses, financial strain, and home-schooling. Yet, it is still disappointing to see that Equal Pay Day has shifted slightly earlier in this year’s calendar, calculated by the gender pay gap increase to 11.9% from 10.6% in 2020. 

“The decision to suspend and delay the reporting requirement has certainly had an impact on the final figures. Indeed, a quarter fewer employers published their pay gap data this year. And while the effects of the pandemic all contribute to this year’s numbers, the bigger concern is that diversity and inclusion initiatives have taken a back seat. Now, more than ever, businesses must ensure equal pay initiatives are highlighted on the boardroom agenda.

“Employers must ensure that every worker has the opportunity to expand their role toward higher-paying positions, which includes how they address unconscious bias and facilitate professional development and mentoring. Above all, it’s important for organisations to challenge themselves to contribute in eliminating inequity in the workplace. Only by recognising where obstacles lie can we make meaningful steps to implement change.”

ADP® Research Institute, People at Work 2021: A Global Workforce View, revealed that women were left behind when it comes to being rewarded financially for taking on new roles or additional responsibilities to fill gaps left by COVID-19 related job losses. 

  • Only half of female employees in the UK believe that their employer is doing enough to close the pay gap and address diversity
  • Over a third of British women do not believe there is pay equality in their organisation, with 52% of UK employees reporting that “my company states there is pay equality, but I haven’t seen it”
  • In the UK, 68% of women received a pay rise or bonus for taking on new roles and extra responsibilities, compared to 76% of men

Jeff Phipps, Managing Director of ADP, said: 

“Unfortunately, the gender pay gap appears to still be ingrained in workplaces across the UK, and has potentially been exacerbated by the pandemic. Employees have been stepping up to support their employers in the face of job cuts or restructuring of operations, yet women are not being rewarded as favourably as men for taking on additional responsibilities.”

“Employers must continue to work towards achieving pay equity in their organisations. It has been proven time and time again that diversity is an essential attribute of a successful business, and one that can adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing economic landscape. Ensuring that women are getting a fair chance to progress in their career must be top of mind as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The additional burden of unpaid work has continued to fall mainly on women during the pandemic, and this has taken a toll. I fear that some flexible working models, despite being well intended, could create increased disparity. Companies may shrug their shoulders and say it’s not their job to fix societal issues, or instead, they could choose to shine a light on the issue and play a role in changing behaviours and policies to level the playing field and create a more equitable future.”

Ann Franke100x100Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said:  

“We should have put this annual marker to bed years ago and be in a far better position on equality of pay by now.

“But we’re still not there yet. There are reasons why women lag behind men in pay, not least because working practices haven’t kept pace with how employees, particularly women, want or need to work. 

“Our own recent research with The Work Foundation found that there is much to be done by businesses to modernise their working practices and embrace agile working, but there is a deep-rooted perception of ‘office-culture’. 

“Indeed, despite the huge recent shift by many to hybrid working there is a mismatch between attitudes of some managers and their teams. There is a real perception of ‘office culture’ and some managers are unwilling to implement hybrid-working practices. Our results also suggest women are less comfortable than men in discussing a remote work request with their manager. Women are also less likely than men to feel their organisation is inclusive of remote workers. This needs to change.

“As we’ve said in our recent guidance for businesses, the pandemic has created even greater challenges for women in the workplace. Women are more likely to have lost their jobs during the pandemic, meaning British businesses have lost hard won gains over the last few years, which is bad for business and bad for our economic recovery. 

“You can’t cookie cut how your employees work now – one size doesn’t fit all and the savviest managers have realised that.  Women’s contribution to business is huge. Particularly given the current buoyant job market, managers need to take a closer, more thoughtful look at how they support their female colleagues and work hard to ensure pay is fair and practices are geared towards retaining them and helping them thrive.”

CMI research from February this year has also shown the challenges that working mothers face in the workplace; they are more likely to be in communication less than once a week with their manager than UK employees overall (29% compared to 23%).

Ann Limb 100x100Commenting Dr Ann Limb CBE, Chair of City & Guilds, said:

“With this year’s Equal Pay Day highlighting that the gender pay gap has widened, we face a very real risk of undoing the progress towards gender parity made within the last few years. If we’re truly looking to reboot our economy, we need women in the workplace to fill critical skills gaps and provide the diverse perspectives and leadership styles that help organisations and societies to thrive.

“Despite economic recovery creating more jobs in high-paying sectors such as digital, construction and transportation, women are still being left behind. While new career opportunities are being created, women are significantly underrepresented in these sectors due to the fact that boys are generally encouraged to take STEM routes whilst girls are not. This is coupled with the fact that working practices are often not compatible with the caring responsibilities that often fall to women.

“In order to get back on the path to progress, we need to start by offering better career advice and guidance to girls from primary school age onwards. This includes an improved careers service for women who want or need to retrain later in their careers. With our recent research finding that 59% of women have not received any training in the past year, it’s vital we provide equal opportunities for women to upskill and reskill to empower them to transition into industries of growth.

“We are calling on the Government and employers to lend support to the improvement of careers services, including the development of a more comprehensive online advice system. In addition, to help women upskill and continue to contribute throughout their working lives, we need to look at how we can offer greater flexibility not only in the workplace, but for training and reskilling opportunities as well.”

Darren Hockley 100x100Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International, said: 

“In 2021, there should be no reason for all genders not to receive equal pay. If a job needs to be done, there remains no explanation for a disparity in pay, whether that be salaries, bonuses, or promotions. The fact that this still exists highlights that there are still significant advances to be made. This year, the government decided to change the date for gender pay gap mandatory reporting and, unfortunately, many organisations did not submit their gender pay gap reports by the original deadline because of the pandemic.   

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, organisations must continue prioritising gender parity. However, according to the latest findings from Indeed, 48% of girls aged between 16 and 18 would rule out working for an organisation that evidences a gender pay gap against women. If organisations don’t tackle this issue head-on, they will lose out on exceptional talent going forward, further adding to the skills gap the country faces.

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“Educating leadership teams on diversity, equity and inclusion, and unconscious bias is paramount. Addressing diversity issues at the core and building robust principles will enable organisations to create a culture where intolerance and discrimination are impermissible. From changing the way organisations recruit, to writing job descriptions, only this culture-shift will allow organisations to establish equal pay between all genders. Organisations must learn to compensate talent based on their skill set, not their gender.” 


  • 69% of women state that they don’t have all the skills they’ll need to succeed in their career in the next five years 
  • The skills sets that they feel least confident about possessing include, advanced digital (94%) and leadership and management (79%), sales and business development (90%) and data handling and analysis (80%)
  • 37% of women have not received formal workplace training in the last three years whilst 59% have not received any training in the past year
  • With 30% of women stating the training they had was not useful for their future career aspirations, this points to potential future barriers for women looking to progress in their careers, access well paid roles – or simply remain employable

** The joint report from NAHT, WomenEd, ASCL and NGA: ‘Closing the gender pay gap in education: a leadership imperative’, will be released at the end of November. In primary schools, the gap between men and women’s average pay has increased over the last decade by almost a thousand pounds, from £1,878 in 2010/11 to £2,834 in 2020/21.

New research reveals where in the UK teachers are paid the most, with Scottish teachers receiving the highest annual salary, outside of London 

The research, by Promethean, studied the annual salaries of full-time employees in teaching and education professions, by analysing how these compare across regions in the UK, and also on a global scale. 

The regions where teachers earn the most in the UK 


Region in the UK

Average annual salary for teachers











North West



South East



South West






East Midlands



West Midlands



North East



Yorkshire and the Humber


UK average


Findings from the study include: 

  • While London ranked highest for the highest-paid salaries for teachers in the UK, Scotland was the second highest paying region for the education sector, with teachers and educational professionals earning £1,312 more than the UK average annual teaching salary. 
  • Yorkshire and the Humber reported the lowest salaries among teachers and educational professionals in the UK, with an annual average salary of £35,306.
  • Outside of London, the second highest paying region in England is the North West, with teachers earning up to £39,973 per year. 
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