As our analysis of the gender pay gap within strategic suppliers to government from our Procuring Inequality report, showed a broad overlap between the largest categories by contract value and the worst-performing categories by gender pay gap.
In the top ten categories for gender pay disparity, six of the categories also feature in the top ten categories by expenditure; Construction, Architectural and Engineering, Software, IT services, Telecommunications & Media and Research and Consultancy all feature, representing £224bn of contracts let since 2017.
Construction has a strong correlation between a high level of contract value and high levels of gender pay disparity. Along with Architectural Engineering, Construction makes up the bulk of the contracting with the worst-performing suppliers by category and should be the area of greatest focus if the government wants to reduce the gender pay gap in its supply base.
It is surprising that despite drives to improve women in technology, the IT Services, Software and Media and Communications categories are among the worst-performing industries. The level of gender pay bias towards men is 17% for Telecoms & Media, 19% for IT Services and 21% for Software.
The worst performing category is Finance and Insurance, with a gender pay disparity of 24%, but a spend of only £3bn. However, directly contracted spend with the Financial Services sector is relatively rare as value is often exchanged as a percentage or as part of a varied and often complex set of services, from individual banking services to card payment processing and investments. There is rarely a formal contract (with a predetermined value) that can be published online in these cases. The value of spending in this market is likely much greater than recorded.
The Real Estate industry has the third highest bias, where men earned 22% more than women.
None of these figures are encouraging, and it suggests that more needs to be done to get these strategic suppliers more actively closing the gender pay gap.
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