Research conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has revealed that the gender pay gap among secondary heads widened in the UK by more than a third over the past three years.
Female headteachers earned an average of £13,000 less than their male counterparts in 2018/19, compared to £9,700 less in 2015/16. On average, male heads received £89,400 per annum – 8.4% higher than female heads’ salaries of £82,300.
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The gender pay gap for deputy headteachers also increased but at a lower rate; male deputies were paid an average salary of £77,400 compared to female deputies, an average of £75,400. This difference is 2.8%, compared to 1.6% in 2015/16.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the EHRC, commented: “It’s deeply concerning that the gender pay gap for head and deputy teachers has widened over three years; not only does this underline the persistent inequality between women and men in the UK, but it means that female heads could be missing out on thousands of pounds every year.”
The research also highlighted regional variations in salaries; At the same time, there was no overall gender pay gap among primary headteachers; male primary heads in Scotland earned 7.1% more than their female counterparts – amounting to £3,800 annually.
Hilsenrath concluded: “Employers must take action to tackle gender pay gaps and equal pay. It is time for employers to ensure fair recruitment, promotion and progression system,s, so everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead.” The EHRC urged employers to introduce gender pay gap audits as well as signing up for its Gender Pay Gap Service which provides advice and guidance on how to reduce the divide
The findings come at a time when the teaching profession faces significant retention issues, with many teachers citing workload pressures, lack of career progression opportunities and low salaries as key factors in their decision to leave the profession prematurely. This could disproportionately affect female teachers, who often juggle numerous responsibilities and could lose out financially too. The government must therefore take action to ensure that teacher salaries remain competitive to attract and retain the best staff.
How would you react to the findings of this research? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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