Male and female figurines standing next to equal piles of coins. Income equality concept.

The UK has a 15% pay gap. This is what we’re doing about it.

What do you think about before accepting a job offer?  Perhaps we all have a similar expectation: organising a start date, confirming reference details, and negotiating salary.  This is not so at Restless Development. Restless Development has set salary figures for each level of role seniority, and these figures are rolled out over all the countries we work in.  There is no negotiation. A Finance Manager in Sierra Leone earns an equitable figure to a Programme Manager in the UK. An HR Coordinator in Nepal earns an equitable figure to a Fundraising Coordinator in the US.  A woman and a man doing the same job get the same pay, always. We call it the Global Salary Scale, and we’re very proud of it.

When we started looking at gender pay gap reporting in the UK, there was a collective assumption that, because of the Global Salary Scale, of course, our gender pay gap would be zero.  Well, this isn’t exactly what the gender pay gap is measuring. The gender pay gap measures the difference in gender pay across a whole organisation, whereas equal pay compares one job with another.  Unequal pay has been unlawful in the UK since the pioneering times of the Made in Dagenham ladies.  Unfortunately, some businesses still need a reminder of this rule, but rest assured that all at Restless Development are paid equally.

So back to Restless Development’s gender pay gap.  Whilst we are not legally required to report any pay gaps (we have less than 250 staff in the UK), our work on gender rights, inclusion, transparency and dynamic accountability made us want to share this information.  We want to be open and honest about all aspects of our work, and we believe that sharing this information with all the people we work with will ultimately build trust and confidence in the communities we serve and hold us to account.

And now we arrive at the great reveal.  We followed the regulation guidelines, which meant: using UK payroll data from April 2017; calculating the mean gender pay gap and median gender pay gap; breaking down the proportion of males and females in each quartile pay band; and excluding staff on maternity leave as well as starters or leavers who only worked a partial month.  We found that Restless Development had a mean gender pay gap of 15%, and a median of 11%. Principally, this means that Restless Development’s London office has less representation of females at the most senior levels than it does at the most junior. This is confirmed when we look at our pay quartiles. Of the lowest paid quarter of staff, 69% are female.  Whereas at the highest quarter, 53% are female. You can see the ratio of males and females in each quartile at Restless Development in the table below.

 Pay Quartiles Male Female
Top quartile 47% 53%
Upper middle quartile 23% 75%
Lower middle quartile 31% 69%
Lower quartile 31% 69%

The Gender Pay Gap Viewing Service, where you can view the pay gap data of organisations which must report, is also well-worth a look.

To a degree, this data is limited by the format required.  By not reporting people on maternity/paternity leave, the 2017 numbers underreport women in senior roles.  By reporting by quartile – rather than simply by each individual level from Officer to Executive – the breakdown muddies the real structure of our agency. By only looking at UK staff, we are not including the vast majority of our staff globally.  But even with these limitations in mind, there is a gender pay gap that we must address.

The good news is that we have already been working on improving our gender pay gap through our work on diversity & inclusion, and building our ways of working to accommodate flexible-working.  We have core working hours, support working from home, and have our first ever job share, which is at Director level. We offer equal occupational maternity & paternity leave, we have trialed blind application processes, and train staff on unconscious bias.  We have a global gender committee, we consider representation in succession planning, and we are widening our reach in recruitment strategies.

Our next step is for us to look at the gender pay gap in our other nine offices and by job level rather than quartile. We are a global agency and we seek to improve representation everywhere we work. If we can improve representation of our staff, then we can do the same for our young leaders, which will assist the change-makers to make a lasting difference in their communities.  Ultimately, we will build on our approach of transparent, equal pay regardless of gender or any other characteristic. Watch this space.

Tracey Cunningham is the  Head of People  at  Restless Development,  based in our London office.


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The UK has a 15% pay gap. This is what we’re doing about it.

by wearerestless Reading time: 3 min