The Gender Pay Gap


  • The Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening, has declared that tackling the gender pay gap is an absolute priority for the Government.1
  • The gender pay gap persists, however – standing at 18.1% for UK full-time and part-time employees.2 This means that women are paid on average 18.1% less than men. The pay gap has fallen from 27.5% in 1997 but it is still above the EU 2014 average of 16.1%, the lowest of which is Slovenia at 2.9%.3 The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that the gap for women educated to A-level and degree level is approximately the same as it was 20 years ago.4
  • The teaching profession is not immune from this inequality due to the impact of career breaks on pay and career progression, lower rates of promotion for women teachers and the introduction of competitive performance-related pay (PRP).
  • The average pay for all women teachers in all state funded schools including academies is £2,800 less than for their male counterparts every year (£37,100 compared to £39,900).5 The main reason for this is the far greater likelihood of a male teacher securing promotion, especially to headships. In all state funded primary schools, 14% of all teachers but 28% of head teachers are men, while in secondary schools the figures are 36% and 63% respectively.
  • The gender pay gap is lower among classroom teachers, with women classroom teachers in all state funded schools earning £800 less on average per year (although they earn slightly more on average in primary schools than their male counterparts).6
  • The pay gap is, however, far wider for teachers in leadership positions. On average, women head teachers in all state funded schools earn £8,300 less than their male counterparts. While this is mainly due to the higher proportion of (better paid) secondary heads who are men, there is nevertheless a gender pay gap of £1,600 for heads of LA primary schools and £1,300 for heads of LA secondary schools.
  • The gender pay gap among leadership teachers also varies according to age group. On average, women head teachers in all state funded schools aged under 40 earn £4,500 less than their male counterparts, those in their 40s earn £7,900 less, those in their 50s earn £11,400 less and those aged 60 or over earn £13,700 less.7
  • The NUT has warned that the introduction of PRP for teachers will exacerbate gender pay differentials.8 Evidence from the European Commission9 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission10 supports these concerns. PRP for teachers will hit women teachers particularly hard as women are more likely to have taken career breaks and are more likely than men to have worked part time.
  • A 2016 joint NUT/ATL member survey on pay progression11 found that only 49% of teachers eligible for progression who had been absent for all or part of the 2015-16 school year because of pregnancy or maternity leave had received pay progression.  More than half (53%) said that they had been specifically told that they had been denied progression because of that absence. Also, eligible part time teachers (mostly female) were more than twice as likely to be denied progression (38%) than their full-time colleagues (18%).
  • The NUT presses employers to meet their statutory equality duties. The Equality Act 2010 requires public bodies in the UK to have regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.12 The requirement applies to all public bodies which employ teachers including maintained schools, academies, free schools, further education and sixth form colleges. Employers with 150 or more employees have a specific legal duty to publish annually information about the workforce which demonstrates compliance with the general equality duty.13 Public authorities in Wales are required to publish information about employees each year regardless of the size of their workforce.14
  • Academy trusts and schools with more than 250 employees have until April 2018 to publish their mean and median gender pay gap under new legislation passed in March 2017.15
  • The NUT believes that all schools and colleges, regardless of the size of their workforce, should publish equality information about employees each year, including details of the gender pay gap, to demonstrate compliance with the general equality duty, identify trends and implement robust equality practices. Removing bias from processes will improve fair access to promotion, reduce the impact of career breaks on career progression and reduce the potential unequal impact of PRP.
  • The NUT will continue to challenge the gender pay gap in teaching by demanding that all employers collect, analyse, report and respond to gender pay differentials. The Union will continue to challenge performance-related pay and will work for fair access to promotion.
  • The NUT will also continue to seek to reduce pay inequality in society by challenging gender stereotypes through the curriculum.16

1 Government Equalities Office (18 August 2016) Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Public Sector
Employers Consultation Document

2 Office for National Statistics (26 October 2016) Statistical Bulletin Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings: 2016

3 Eurostat (2014), Gender Pay Gap Statistics, Luxembourg,Tables and Figures, Figure 1

4 Institute for Fiscal Studies (23 August 2016) The Gender Wage Gap, London

5 Department for Education (30 June 2016), School Workforce in England: November 2015, London, Main
tables: SFR21/2016 Table 9a

6 Ibid, Table 9b

7 Ibid, Table 9d

8 NUT (December 2015) EduFact: Performance Related Pay in Schools, London

9 EU Publications Office (2014)Tackling the gender pay gap in the European Union, p5

10 Equality and Human Rights Commission (16 August 2016) Advice and Guidance on Pay Systems

11 NUT/ATL Joint Pay Survey 2016 – available at  

12 Equality Act 2010, part 11, chapter 1

13 Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011

14 Equality Act 2010 (Statutory Duties) (Wales) Regulations 2011

15 The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017

16 NUT (2014) Breaking the Mould, London

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