Fri, 08 Mar 2019
IN total, 83 per cent of the lowest paid jobs at West Berkshire Council council last year were occupied by women.
This is despite the fact that more than three-quarters (77.28 per cent) of all employees are women.
And only 26.67 per cent of senior manager roles were held by women.
Senior managers are defined as the chief executive, corporate directors and heads of service – which accounts for 1.01 per cent of the council’s total workforce.
The proportion of men who occupy senior management roles at the local authority is three times that of their female counterparts.
The figures come from West Berkshire Council’s Annual Equalities Report, which was released earlier this year.
Effectively, the data shows that more female employees were proportionately employed in lower paid roles and proportionately more men were employed in higher paid ones in 2018
Although nearly two thirds (64.76 per cent) of all middle-management roles were occupied by females, the proportion of women in managerial roles in general represented a decrease on last year.
This included a five per cent drop in women in senior management since last year, which the council say is due to resignations.
West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton, said: “The number of senior managers is relatively small and natural turnover can produce large percentage changes in the gender balance of this group of employees.
“The council always appoints the best candidate regardless of gender or any other protected characteristic.”
Mrs Stoddart-Crompton added that the council had no intention of trying to address last year’s drop in the number of women in senior management roles.
This is because it is “unlawful to positively discriminate in favour of male or female candidates, so no specific action is planned”.
The district council also stood by one of its statements in its West Berkshire Vision 2036 – a document which sets out the economic ambitions for the district until 2036.
The document, which was presented at the Newbury Vision conference last November, states that West Berkshire is one of the best places to be a woman.
Mrs Stoddart-Crompton continued: “The wording in Vision 2036 supports the view that West Berkshire is a great place for women to live and work.”
Explaining the relatively low proportion of women in senior-based roles, the council added that “the best candidate is appointed regardless of sex of any other protected characteristic”.
The local authority also highlighted how flexible working was offered to all employees, regardless of their gender, to improve work and life balance with out-of-work commitments.
But UNISON West Berkshire Local Government branch flagged the dearth of women associated with higher-salaried roles as a cause for concern.
Joint branch secretary at the organisation Dave Pearson said: “UNISON is obviously concerned about the under representation of women in middle and senior management posts at WBC.
“We will be raising this matter with the chief executive and elected members as matter of urgency and will seek assurances that action will be taken to address this imbalance, together with addressing concerns we also have regarding other equalities issues relating to ethnicity and mental and physical disability.”