ERO Gender Pay Action Plan

Purpose

The plan outlines undertakings between the PSA and ERO to make substantial reductions in the gender pay gap within ERO. This plan is developed under the direction of the Government’s Public Service Gender Pay Gap Action Plan (Action Plan) that sets in place a series of Public Service-wide actions and milestones for completion during 2020. The aim is to meet as much as possible the milestones in the Action Plan under the headings Equal Pay, Flexible Work, Removal of Bias in remuneration decisions and Gender Balanced Leadership.

Background

ERO is a small government department with 200 staff whose role is to review and report on the quality of education in the pre-tertiary education sectors in Aotearoa.

Characteristics of the organisation include a high percentage of female staff (79%), an average age across the organisation of around 55, and a substantial number of employees across three roles: Managers Review and Improvement Services (8%), Review Officers (56%), and Administration Support roles (13%).

There is a high union membership in ERO, 78% across the organisation and 89% of those eligible to join the CEA. Salary ranges and movements are provided for all staff covered by the CEA, with movement through identified steps for the Review and Improvement Services (including Business Enablement) and Education and Policy roles in the CEA.

Report against 2019 Plan and ERO’s measures

ERO’s 2019 Gender Pay Plan had the following objectives:

  • Equal Pay: During the year, ERO convened a Working Group that agreed on the main issues for gender pay and provided options for the CEA negotiations teams to consider as part of that work. This provided the basis of the Administration/Support scales and movement within the CEA.
  • Flexible Work by default: - The Working Group provided options for management to extend flexible work further into ERO’s workforce; a number of these options were dependent on system availability, which has largely been solved. Currently these are being tested for Admin/Support staff.
  • No bias in remuneration decisions: All CEA roles now have agreed broad ranges, and either steps or annual movements – there is no discretion in starting rates.
  • Gender based leadership: The suggestions of the Working Group were considered as part of the CEA negotiation process.

ERO’s reporting and measures

ERO’s agency-wide gender pay gap is 10.4% when calculating the average/mean gap, and 3.3% when calculating the median gap.

Please note that ERO is a small organisation and the majority of our staff hold one role, that of Review Officer. This means that for all other roles we do not have any groups of more than 20 males/20 females. However, as per the guidance for small agencies, we are providing the information for those groups even where we have only small numbers in the roles, as per the following table.

The gender pay gaps for various roles are:

Position Females in role Males in role Average Gap % Median Gap %
Review Officers 98 21 1.1 1.1
Managers Review and Improvement Services 16 2 -1 0
Administration Officers 20 2 -1 0.5

Notes:

In ERO there are a number of roles with small numbers in the position, so these are not shown in the chart above. There is a negative pay gap (eg: higher average and median salaries for females than males) for our Tier 2 positions. There is also a negative pay gap for our Senior Education Evaluator roles. There are only two people in our Education Evaluator role (1 M, 1 F) and three in the Analyst roles (2M, 1F). These were all recent appointments which started on the same salary (bottom of the scale) as determined by the CEA, so there is no gap for these roles.

Our Business Support Manager, Assistant Accountants, and Executive Assistant positions are only held by females at present – so no gender gaps for these positions.

The other roles in our organisation have only one person per position, so we cannot calculate gender pay gaps for these roles.

Proportion of females that are part time compared to fulltime:

  • 7% of females work part time compared to 2% of males

Percentage of management and leadership roles in ERO:

  • 75% of Tier 2 ELT are female *
  • 74% of Tier 3 are female

Proportion of women in occupational groups:

Role Percentage of women
Review Officers 83%
Managers Review and Improvement Services 89%
Administration and Support Roles 93%
Education Evaluators (including Seniors) 67%
National Office Managers (tier 3) 60%
Executive Leaders Team (ELT) (Tier 2) *

75%

Regional Directors ** 33%
Information Services Unit (ISU) roles 

57%

Notes:

* A recent appointment to this group will change this proportion to 80%

** There is a current vacancy in the group – the acting role is currently being undertaken by a woman which if included would change this proportion to 50%.

Ethnicity Data

We were not required by the SSC to include ethnic pay data in our initial plan which was submitted to the SSC in February 2019.

We have included this in this year’s plan, but it is yet to be analysed to any great degree. That analysis will allow us to be more definite in the 2021 revision of our plan about our approach to closing any ethnic pay gaps and the progress. It will also allow good comparative data.

We have also followed the SSC guidance to list this data by comparing the average gender pay for men and women rather than calculating gaps, because advice on calculating ethnic gender pay gaps is in development.

The average pay for men and women in each ethnic group in ERO:

Ethnicity Numbers in group Average Pay - Female Average Pay - Male
European 133 91,667 107,100
Māori 43 100,217 97,637
Pacific 12 89,295

78,642

Asian  13 72,098 112,377
Not stated 15 87,575 61,512

For the 2021 revision of our plan, we will include a comparison of ethnic pay data from 2020 to 2021. Where we see any change in the data we will also provide a summary of these and information on what has been done to identify and if possible address any ethnic gender pay gaps.

The Plan 2020

The Gender pay gap in ERO is subject to significant fluctuation due to a) the small number of staff and b) the gender imbalance. Despite the large number of staff covered by the CEA with ranges and steps, our gender pay issue is driven by occupational segregation.

At all levels of the organisation there is little or no gender pay gap in like-for-like roles, and in fact, in most the gap is in favour of female employees. This is mainly as a consequence of recruitment of a senior skilled workforce, typically at the peak of their careers, and an administrative support function which is made up almost entirely of female employees.

Equal Pay

ERO, together with the PSA, will review the operation of the salary ranges after 1 July 2020, which is the next remuneration movement within the CEA. The results of that review will form the basis of any action plan.

A focus of this review will be the operation of the administration salary bands.

Additionally, the parties have agreed to investigate the underlying reasons for the ethnic pay gaps reported above and recommend appropriate action to rectify any issues.

Flexible Work by default

The advancement of technology within ERO and the opportunities provided by a) the current pandemic and b) the changes to ERO’s structure, where the support function within ERO as part of a national team, have allowed us to test some greater working from home and other options for staff that previously did not have access to flexible work.

After normality returns, ERO will review the outcomes of this working arrangement with the view of cementing the positive gains through adaption of a new flexible work policy within the organisation. It is hopeful we will be able to achieve this by the end of 2020.

ERO’s policies

During the course of the year, ERO will review its policies to ensure that their operation is gender neutral and that access to benefits reflects the gender balance within the organisation.

ERO’s response to the action plan milestones
In addition to the comments above, ERO has a strong working relationship with the PSA and will continue throughout the year to include a review of progress against the Public Service milestones and ERO’s plan in each of its national delegates hui.

Note: ERO will carry out unconscious bias training for managers as part of the Ask Your Team (AYT) work programme. Currently ERO is delivering the Courageous Conversations About Race (CCAR) programme to all staff – this contains an awareness of unconscious bias as a part of the programme. The goal is to have this programme delivered to all staff as soon as possible within 2020.