Gender pay gap favours men in museums and galleries

Men get paid more and occupy the top jobs
Patrick Steel
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The median hourly rate for female staff is lower than that for men at all but two of the eight museums, galleries and heritage organisations that have filed gender pay gap information so far this year.

Of those organisations, only the British Museum (-4%) and National Maritime Museum (-0.5%) have a pay gap in favour of women, while others range from 2.6% (Arts Council England) to 18.6% (National Heritage Memorial Fund) in favour of men.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which employs 641 staff, 52% of whom are female, has an 8.2% pay gap.

The National Gallery (15.2%), National Portrait Gallery (13.1%), National Trust (14.4%) and National Heritage Memorial Fund (18.6%) all have a larger pay gap than the national average of 9.1%.

The report is a statutory requirement for organisations with 250 employees or more.

All of the museums and galleries that have responded so far have more women than men in the top 25% of earners.

The gap is attributed to several different causes, but one of the main factors is the under-representation of women in the most senior roles.

The Museums Association (MA) has 22 staff, of whom 82% are female and, although not a reporting organisation at around a tenth of the required size, it has a median hourly pay gap of almost 34%.

“It’s disappointing but not surprising that the gender pay gap persists in the sector,” said Sharon Heal, the MA’s director. “It’s the 50th anniversary of the Ford Dagenham strike this year which led to the introduction of the Equal Pay Act, and yet still many women don’t earn the same as their male counterparts or are in lower paid sections of the economy.

“The MA’s salary survey has highlighted the problem of low pay across the sector and the MA is campaigning for change, including championing and supporting women to get senior leadership roles and to be paid appropriately.”

The National Trust stated: “In our lower-graded roles such as retail, catering and cleaning 72% are women, leading to an overall gender pay gap.”

Meanwhile the arts council’s research “shows that the remaining pay gap is largely a result of the relative under-representation of women in senior posts at the arts council”.

The National Portrait Gallery stated: “With male employees having on average eight years’ service compared to the female average of five years, an element of the pay gap could be explained through the differential in length of service, with male employees having served, on average, longer in post.

“As salary increases within the gallery are related to the annual pay review and annual staff review process this may have an impact on the disparity in basic pay across the workforce.”

And a spokeswoman for the National Gallery said: “While we have every confidence that men and women doing the same job are paid within the same pay band at all levels of the gallery, we are currently revising our entire pay structure.

“So far this has included an examination and evaluation of all roles to ensure that we are not just looking at immediately comparable roles, but also roles of equal value to the gallery.

“We are due to implement our new pay structure during 2018. This will enable us to broaden our approach to pay. However, we do recognise that at the moment our executive gender profile does not reflect that of the gallery as a whole.”

Museums are running out of time to file their gender pay gap data before the end of the financial year. The MA’s records show that at least 17 UK museums and galleries employ more than 250 staff, but so far only eight have submitted a report.

According to the Financial Times, museums are not the only organisations to be slow in filing, with five out of six employers yet to submit their figures.



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