Ambulance service gender pay gap on the agenda
Male ambulance service staff in the West Midlands were paid on average nearly six per cent more than their female colleagues last year, according to a report.
But the proportion of women working for the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has risen every year and the gender pay gap – which is already smaller than the UK-wide difference of 18 per cent – is closing.
In her report for the ambulance service directors, workforce chief Kim Nurse says current recruitment figures are “almost equal for men and women” and interviewers are given specific gender bias training.
Mrs Nurse points out that the pay gap arises because the higher-paid jobs are held by male employees, who make up two thirds of the top pay quartile.
It is illegal for employers to pay men and women differently for identical work.
When WMAS was founded in 2007, 35.3 per cent of employees were women. This increased to 40.3 per cent in 2017 and 41.3 per cent in 2018.
The mean pay gap was 6.68 per cent in 2017 and it closed slightly to 5.79 per cent in 2018.
The median pay gap went from 7.61 per cent in 2017 to just 2.29 per cent in 2018.
In the top salary quartile, 66.85 per cent of the jobs are occupied by men. Women are best represented in the middle two quartiles, where they account for 45 per cent of employees.
Mrs Nurse writes: “The board of directors and the senior leadership team are committed to improving our gender pay gap and published a number of initiatives to address this in the 2017-18 gender pay gap report.”
These included a review of recruitment process, which aimed to attract female candidates and reduce the potential for interviewer bias.
“Our recruitment figures are almost equal for men and women and the unconscious bias training content for interviewers has been reviewed and adapted to specifically include gender bias,” Mrs Nurse writes.
“We have reviewed training opportunities that other trusts have put in place to encourage women into management positions.”
The trust also explored whether its staff wished to establish a “Women’s Equality Network”, for example to campaign for equality or run upskilling events.
“There is currently no appetite for a women’s network in the trust,” writes Mrs Nurse, WMAS’s Workforce and Organisational Development Director.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust will discuss her report when it meets at its headquarters in Dudley tomorrow.
Story by Local Democracy Reporter Alex Moore