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Westminster has highest gender pay gap out of 12 London councils

Westminster City council (WCC) has the highest gender pay gap out of 12 inner London councils according to most recent data.

The council, which covers wealthy postcodes including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and 10 Downing Street, has a median gender pay gap of 6% in 2023 among its full-time employees. 

Women are paid £23.26 per hour compared to men who are paid a median of £24.87 per hour.

However, over half of the inner London councils sampled pay female employees more than men.

Southwark, Hackney and Islington all have negative gender pay gaps, and Newham pays women the most compared to men with a median gender pay gap of -21.7%.

A spokesperson from WCC said: “Closing gender and ethnicity pay gaps has been a focus for the council in recent years. 

“The organisation has adopted new recruitment processes and HR policies to make the organisation fairer and more inclusive.”

Despite being the highest among other councils, this is the first year in five that the council has had a median gender pay below the national average of 7.7%.

Notably in 2021, WCC had a median gender pay gap of 11.8% compared to the 7.7% nationally, the biggest difference observed since 2019.

According to their gender pay gap report in 2023, WWC introduced a gender balanced shortlist for all roles including and above middle manager. 

The council also enabled more flexible working across all roles, offered coaching and mentoring to women for career progression and an increased uptake of women on the apprenticeship programme.

Since this change, the proportion of women in higher paid positions has started to increase.

Looking at the pay quartiles in the 2023 report, which were split into lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile, the proportion of women in the lowest one remains the same at 63% but the highest one increased from 50% to 55% in four years.

The WCC spokesperson added: “We’ve also made a concerted effort to ensure that every level of the council’s work force represents the community we serve.

“Our senior leadership team is now predominantly women.”

However, there is still a long way to go for WWC to have a similar structure to Newham, which had the lowest gender pay gap. In Newham, 60.9% of women were in the highest paid quartile in 2023.

Any organisation with over 250 employees must submit a gender pay gap report each year by law.

WWC spokesperson added: “While there has been significant progress, we know there is more to do and this remains a priority for the council.”

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