Gender pay gap narrows at largest UK charities, study reveals

08 Jul 2024 Research

By Hyejin Kang / Adobe

The average gender pay gap at a sample of almost 100 of the largest charities in the UK has fallen, according to new research from Civil Society. 

In April 2023, the average median gender pay gap for the large charities surveyed was 6.8%, down from 7.2% a year earlier.  

This means that women earned around 93p on average for every £1 their male counterparts were paid.

The 6.8% gap is lower than the 14.3% average pay difference for all employees in the UK, calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Mean pay gap plateaus

Organisations with over 250 employees must submit their annual gender pay gap data to the government by 4 April each year and publish the figures on their website.

The data in this study refers to the snapshot date of 5 April 2023.

Civil Society has been tracking gender pay gaps at the same 100 charities for the last six years, but received 99 sets of data this year as one chosen charity did not report its figures.

The average mean gender pay gap stayed roughly the same as the year before at 9.8%, which is the lowest it has been at the charities since it became mandatory for large organisations to report it.  

Civil Society began analysing the median pay gap of the charities last year as it is more directly comparable to ONS figures. 

Out of the 99 charities analysed for April 2023, 56 reported that their median gender pay gap fell, 36 showed an increase, while seven gave the same figures as the year before.

Widest pay gaps in favour of men

Exempt education charity Woodard Academies Trust had the highest median gender pay gap of the sample with 41.5%, compared to 18% the year before. 

Its data for 2023 shows that women occupied 62% of the highest-paid jobs in 2023 as well as 83% of the lowest-paid roles. 

Veterinary charity PDSA had the second highest pay gap in favour of male staff at 30%, a similar number to the previous year, with women occupying 75% of the highest paying roles and 90% of the lowest paid. 

Women’s health charity MSI Reproductive Choices had the third-highest pay gap of the sample with 29.5%, which is down from 33.3% the previous year. 

Some 94% of the lowest paid roles at MSI were filled by women compared to 70% of the highest paid roles. 

The Salvation Army saw its median gender pay gap shrink from 14.4% in 2022 to 3.4% in 2023, and reported an increase in the proportion of women in higher-paying roles. 

In 2022, 41% of people employed in the charity’s highest-paid roles were women, but this jumped to 58% in 2023. 

Meanwhile, the percentage of women in its lowest-paid roles reduced from 77% to 75%.

Pay gaps in favour of women

Some 13 charities in the study had a gender pay gap in favour of women, one more than the previous year. 

Fusion Lifestyle was the charity with the highest gender pay gap that favoured women with 43%, meaning women made £1.43 for every £1 a man earned at the charity. 

This is an increase on the year before (39%) at the sports and leisure management charity.

In 2023, there were more men (53%) in the charity’s lowest-paid roles but more women in higher-paid positions.

The Imperial War Museum had the second highest pay gap in favour of women at 16.5%, despite men outnumbering women (37%) in its highest-paid roles.

Women (68%) outnumbered men in its second highest-paid roles, and men dominated the lowest-paid roles by 69%. 

Bonus pay gaps

Some 57 of the charities in the sample provided data on bonus pay to staff.

Overall 34% of female employees at the charities on average received bonus pay and 32% of men. 

Charities Aid Foundation, the Wellington College, Motability and the British Heart Foundation all had bonus pay gaps that were in favour of women.

The Imperial War Museum had the highest bonus pay gap in favour of men as no female employees were paid a bonus. 

Age UK had a 79.7% mean bonus pay gap, with 4.5% of men receiving a bonus compared to 1.6% of women. 

MSI had a high mean bonus pay gap of 71.2% as 63% of male employees received a bonus compared to 34% of women. 

The charity sector is disproportionately staffed by women, according to NCVO’s Civil Society Almanac

In December 2022, the charity sector workforce was made up of 67.4% women and 32.6% men, according to the data. 

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the free Civil Society daily news bulletin here.

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