A HEALTH trust plans to use mixed-sex recruitment panels and non-gender-biased recruitment to close its gender pay gap.

A report for Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust’s board said male employees are, on average, paid nearly 13 per cent more than female employees. The UK-wide gap for full-time workers is just under nine per cent.

Workforce diversity lead Fiona MacPherson’s report said men hold a higher percentage of the trust’s top-paid roles than the middle- and low-paid ones.

ShropCom, which runs services including Bridgnorth and Ludlow hospitals, Bishops Castle and Whitchurch Community Hospitals and Oswestry Health Centre, employed 1,477 women and 177 men at the time of the survey.

Ms MacPherson, an HR manager at the trust, notes that men and women are paid equally where they do the same work, and it would be illegal to do otherwise.

Regulations under the 2010 Equality Act require public authorities to publish the gender split of their workforce, and the difference in mean and median pay rates.

“The gender pay gap shows the differences in the average pay between men and women,” she wrote.

“If a workplace has a particularly high gender pay gap, this can indicate that there may be a number of issues to deal with. It may be that there is an uneven distribution of genders at different levels of the organisation.”

At the time the “snapshot” survey was taken, the mean average male salary at the trust was £17.76 per hour, 12.7 higher than the figure for women. The same gap stood at 14 per cent in 2017.

The median female salary, however, is three per cent higher than the median male salary, Ms MacPherson wrote.

Across the entire workforce, 89 per cent are women while 11 per cent are female, but among the top-earning quarter of the workforce 16 per cent are men. Males comprise 4.7 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 14.1 per cent of the second, third and fourth percentiles.

Ms MacPherson’s report, prepared for the trust’s governing board, included a list of “next steps”.

These included “working with our communications team on our recruitment literature, ensuring that our photographs are not gender-biased”, “identify any gaps in training for staff” and ensuring “mixed-gender panels for selection and remuneration purposes” for high-paying roles.