Published on 07/02/2024

Gender and ethnicity pay gap report

Statement by the Chair of Avon Fire Authority and Chief Fire Officer

Avon Fire Authority is committed to developing a culture which puts diversity, inclusion, cohesion, and equality (DICE) at the heart of all our work. Gender and race/ethnicity equality and ensuring people are paid fairly for the work they do is a key aspect of this. In line with legislation, this is our fifth gender pay gap report. Since the introduction of the mandatory requirement for private and public sector organisations to calculate and publish a gender pay gap report, there have been calls for pay transparency to be extended to other areas affected by inequality and a lack of diversity. This year we have combined the results of our gender pay gap and ethnicity pay gap analyses into one report as a measure of good practice and to ensure we are aligned with our Service values.

The mean pay for gender in Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) this year shows a negative gap of 3.37% in favour of male staff which is an increase in comparison to 2022, when we recorded a positive 0.18% gap in favour of female staff. Despite the increase, the Service’s pay gap between men and women remains significantly lower than the national average which has declined from 9.7% to 9.4%. The UK national gender pay has continued to decrease since 2019, however the majority of organisations continue to have a gap in favour of males.

The ethnicity pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between all Ethnic minority staff and all White staff in our workforce. Our current ethnicity pay analysis shows a negative gap of 5.4% between White British and Ethnic minority staff, compared to 5.56% from the previous analysis in 2022. The government has ruled out making ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory, however, this year we have analysed and published our Ethnicity pay gap results for transparency and best practice in addition to helping the Service measure and understand what disparities exist in our workforce in relation to Ethnicity. This will help us identify and utilise relevant interventions and initiatives such as Positive Action, to improve the representation of Ethnic minority staff at all levels of the organisation and ensure we achieve a reduced year on year pay gap.

However, we do recognise that we have much more work to do to ensure our organisation is truly inclusive for women and Ethnic minority staff so that we can achieve full gender and Ethnicity pay parity. We confirm that AF&RS has prepared this gender pay gap report based on the pay data for the ‘snapshot date’ of 31 March 2023 in accordance with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017.

Councillor Brenda Massey, Chair to the Fire Authority

Simon Shilton, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive

Dated: 27 July 2023

Introduction

Avon Fire Authority as a public sector employer with more than 250 staff is required by law to publish gender pay gap information under the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. Having a gender pay gap is different to equal pay. Equal pay deals with the differences between men and women who carry out the same or similar jobs, or work of equal value.

The gender pay gap shows the difference in the average pay between all men and women in a workforce. It compares hourly rates of pay and any bonuses staff may receive by gender, highlighting any areas of imbalance. If a workforce has a particularly high gender pay gap this can indicate there may be several issues to deal with, and the individual calculations may help to identify what those issues are.

The ethnicity pay gap is calculated as the difference between the average hourly earnings of White British ethnicity group and other ethnic groups as a proportion of average hourly earnings of White British earnings.

The AF&RS Workforce

In terms of pay and conditions AF&RS employees are broadly split into two main groups, generally referred to as uniformed and non-uniformed. Uniformed staff are wholetime firefighters (who work full time in that role), on call firefighters (who work part time and respond via a pager system) and control staff (who co-ordinate AF&RS work from our control room). Pay and conditions for uniformed staff are negotiated nationally.

Non-uniformed staff are those who provide specialised functions, such as Human Resources, Finance and Technical Services. They are non-operational, generally working a 37-hour week. Their conditions of service are negotiated locally, and their salaries are determined through the Hay Job Evaluation System.

Methodology and calculations

The information for gender and ethnicity is provided from Firewatch by the Corporate Performance Unit. This is then combined with the Employee Pay report provided by Payroll (I-Trent) to produce a salary report by gender. It is further amended to provide FTE hourly rates.

The report excludes all Fire Authority members and those employees on “zero hours” contracts such as those who volunteer for the Staff Engagement Network and Reserve firefighters.

All staff who are on secondary contracts as on-call firefighters are treated as separate employees. The full listing is then sorted in descending order and the mean and median are then calculated for each gender and ethnicity.

AF&RS gender pay gap data on the snapshot date of 31 March 2023

Total number of staff

GenderEmployees%
Male73779%
Female19121%
Total928 

Mean and median calculations

WomenMenGap £Gap %
Average hourly rate of pay17.1917.79£0.60-3.37%
Median hourly rate of pay16.5416.54£0.000.00%

The mean average gender pay gap is -3.37% The median gender pay gap is 0%. These are the gender pay gaps at AF&RS on the snapshot date of 31 March 2023.

Salary quartile bands

Salary quartile calculations show the proportions of male and female employees in four quartile pay bands, which is done by dividing the workforce into four equal parts.

The table below shows the salary quartile breakdown for all staff. The distribution of men and women in each quartile is heavily weighted in favour of men. This is because the calculation looks at the entire workforce, which includes the mainly male operational workforce.

Salary Quartile Bands – All Staff

Hourly Rate RangeFemale% FemaleMale% MaleTotal
Quartile 4£18.34-    52    22.4%    180    77.6%    232
(Highest paid)£67.66
Quartile 3£16.54 –    33    14.2%    199    85.8%    232
(Mid- Upper)£18.34
Quartile 2£16.54 –    20    8.6%    212    91.4%    232
(Mid- Lower)£16.54
Quartile 1£10.90 –    86    37.1%    146    62.9%    232
(Lowest paid)£16.54
Total 191 737 928

AF&RS ethnicity pay gap data on the snapshot date of 31 March 2023

White BritishWhite Minority EthnicUnknown / not statedEthnic MinorityAverage all minority groups
Count7782210127 
Average (Mean)17.6917.7617.7716.7317.42
Mean Ethnicity Pay Gap – White British to others 0.080.08-0.96-0.27
% Average pay gap 0.4%0.5%-5.4%-1.5%

Next steps

The mean and median gender pay gaps at AF&RS have remained relatively small since we began reporting on our gender pay gap in 2018. This year the pay gap has increased by a negative 3.37. There has been an increase in female staff in quartile 4 from 46 in 2022 to 52 in 2023, however, the majority of male staff in this quartile are uniformed and in receipt of a 7% national pay award in 2023, whereas the majority of women in this quartile are corporate and received a lower national pay award in this period. A further contribution to changes in the pay gap is due to having an interim male treasurer in this year as opposed to a female treasurer in 2022. This can account for an equivalent to approximately 1.5% change in the mean calculations. A new female Statutory Finance Officer was appointed from May 2023.

There is always more that we can do to further decrease the gender pay gap annually, however we remain positive that our continuous work addressing pay disparities, and advancing equality of opportunity will ensure that women at AF&RS are not significantly disadvantaged compared to their male colleagues on the issue of pay.

The ethnicity pay gap has shown a minor reduction from 5.56% to 5.4% as of the snapshot date of 31st March 2023. The combination of overall low percentages of Ethnic Minority (EM) staff in our workforce, complexities in gathering data due to a greater breakdown of classifications, provide challenges in measuring and analysing ethnicity data to provide meaningful insights. Additionally, any staff movement in the workforce

such as recruitment, resignation, promotion, or assignments for example, can lead to notable changes in the salary pay gap.

We are committed to continuously improving gender and ethnicity equality in the Service primarily as it is morally the right thing to do but to also ensure we are living by our Service values and fulfilling our Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED). We have made considerable progress in signing off all actions from the previous HMICFRS inspection and culture change action plans and are using our successes to guide and inform us about the next steps in our culture change journey. We will continue the drive for successful outcomes against objectives in the Service Delivery Strategy and revised DICE Strategy 2023/26.

We recognise that there is more work to do to improve how women are treated within our organisation and increase the aspirations and support for our Ethnic minority staff who wish to step up into leadership roles.

We will ensure that we continue to use positive action and other similar initiatives to embed a standard of equality and equity by removing all barriers to access of opportunity for all. We will also continue working closely with women and other underrepresented staff groups across AF&RS and work collaboratively with our external partners to share best practice and improve our organisational culture and processes.

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