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February 4, 2020

GCHQ Remains Male-Dominated, Gender Pay Gap Inches Upwards Despite Best Efforts

Gender balance "it's not optional"

By CBR Staff Writer

GCHQ’s gender pay gap has widened, new data from the signals intelligence agency showed this week, with the 0.2 percent rise in disparity from 2018 to 2019 marginally softened by a greater proportion of women receiving bonuses.

This in turn was tempered by male-dominated overall staffing, which stands at 65 percent men and 35 percent women. The mean gender pay gap, meanwhile, rose from 12.3 percent in 2018 to 12.5 percent the following year. The numbers are worse for the median gender pay gap as it moved from 12.8 percent in 2018 to 14.2 percent in 2019.

GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming said: “A gender balanced and diverse workforce with an inclusive culture is critical to our mission success – it’s not optional.

“The gender pay gap analysis helps us spot areas we need to tackle. And we are doing that. Looking to the future, I’m very ambitious about where I want GCHQ to be. Our intent is for GCHQ to be world class in attracting, retaining and progressing women, with a particular focus on our technical roles.”

The report – in part – exists because the UK government in 2017 announced legislation that requires any organisation with more than 250 employees to report their gender pay gaps every year. The gender pay gap is not the same as the equal pay gap, which is the difference in pay between male and female employees working in similar roles.

The gender pay gap is the contrast between the gross hourly earnings for all men and the gross hourly earnings for all women.

GCHQ Pay Gap Remediation Measures

Since 2018, GCHQ have undertaken several initiatives to try to encourage more women into security, cryptography and intelligence, running over 1000 workshops for young girls in Manchester and increasing engagement on social media channels.

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So far some of the measures it has taken include;

  • Increased the number of women as a proportion of our pipeline, including for our technical roles through a range of outreach and recruitment initiatives.
  • Increased the number of women in senior roles and technical roles partly through the provision of an array of development and progression schemes aimed specifically at women.
  • Supported more women to progress and upskill so that promotion rates at each pay grade are at least equal to men.

Other initiatives include running software development schemes for women and ensuring that job adverts contain gender neutral language. In its report GCHQ claims that: “Everywoman with a technical skill has been engaged with to understand aspirations, provide support and remove barriers.”

See Also: Registration is Open for the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls Competition

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