//Four reasons why female teachers are paid less than men

Four reasons why female teachers are paid less than men

By |2018-06-22T10:15:53+00:0022nd June 2018|Teacher careers|

The teaching profession in England remains dominated by women, but as they accumulate experience in the classroom their pay gradually falls behind men. By the time secondary school teachers have accumulated 20 years of experience, men are earning almost £50,000 per annum yet women are earning under £45,000 per annum.

In the primary phase the gap is larger, with men earning over £51,000 compared to women at almost £43,000. Data from seven years of the School Workforce Census, combined with a survey of over 2,000 teachers via the Teacher Tapp survey app provides some explanations for how this pay gap emerges.

Source: School Workforce Census

1.    Female teachers are less likely to reach leadership positions

Only a minority of teachers ever proceed to senior leadership positions. For example, in School Workforce Census in November 2016, for those with over 30 years of experience, 67% of men and 74% of women are still classroom teachers. However, as the chart below shows, men do make it into senior leadership posts at much higher rates than women.

Source: School Workforce Census

2.    Men make it to leadership positions much earlier in their career

For those women who do decide to apply to senior leadership posts, their appointments tend to come much later in their career. Here we track three groups of teachers who are achieving their first promotions in the summer of 2011, and watch what happens to them during the next five years of their career. They are those who are:

  • (Full-time) classroom teachers in November 2010 and (full-time) Assistant Heads by November 2011
  • (Full-time) Assistant Heads in November 2010 and (full-time) Deputy Heads by November 2011
  • (Full-time) Deputy Heads in November 2010 and (full-time) Headteachers by November 2011

The chart below shows that for each of these three cohorts, the men have far fewer years of experience than their counterparts when they achieve a promotion into a new senior leadership role.

Source: School Workforce Census

One explanatory factor seems to be the willingness of male teachers to move schools for promotion. It seems likely (though we cannot tell here) that they are proactively seeking out promotions in new schools rather than awaiting a vacancy in their existing school.

Source: School Workforce Census

3.    Women achieve less good wages at promotion to headship

We can observe no differences in salaries achieved on first promotion to Assistant Head or Deputy Head, once we control for phase, region, age, experience and tenure in school. However, there are differences in initial wage achieved as a newly-appointed Headteacher, with male teachers achieving a £1000 greater salary, after taking account of phase, region, age, experience and tenure in school.

We cannot observe the wage bargaining process in the School Workforce Census, but last week asked a sample of over 2000 teachers in English schools about their attitudes to pay negotiation via Teacher Tapp. Male respondents were 10 percentage points more likely to report that they have in the past argued for a higher wage than initially offered to them.

Source: Teacher Tapp survey date 13/06/18; N=2,307

Moreover, when we asked whether the teacher would feel uncomfortable arguing for a higher salary than initially offered, women were much more likely to say that they were and this willingness to wage-bargain was highly pronounced amongst those who are headteachers. This is precisely the group where the pay scales allow considerable discretion in earnings.

Source: Teacher Tapp survey date 12/06/18; N=2,348

4.    Women are more likely to slip back into more junior roles after achieving promotion

As we track what happens to these three cohorts achieving their first promotions to new posts, we find their roles five years later are quite different. In each case, the women are much less likely to have secured a further promotion, are more likely to have slipped back into a lower teaching post and are more likely to be no longer teaching in a state-funded school. This has a significant impact on the wage gap between male and female teachers.

Source: School Workforce Census

Conclusion

The pay gap for teachers by the time they have accumulated 20 years of experience is considerable, at over £8,000 in the primary phase and £5,000 in the secondary phase. In part, this is explained by men achieving promotions to senior leadership much earlier in their career and then being far less likely to drop out or back down to a classroom position. When we compare those with 20 years of experience by seniority, we find a pay gap amongst classroom teachers in secondary schools, most likely because the men have taken on more responsibilities that attract pay increments. We find no pay difference amongst those who are Assistant Heads, a modest pay gap amongst those who are Deputy Heads and a large pay gap for those who are Heads. Given the greater discretion in pay bargaining for these more senior posts, it is worth reviewing whether this process disadvantages female teachers who report they feel less able to advocate for a higher wage.

Source: School Workforce Census

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About the Author:

Rebecca Allen is an associate research fellow, having led FFT Education Datalab from its launch in February 2015 to January 2018. She is an expert in the analysis of large scale administrative and survey datasets, including the National Pupil Database and School Workforce Census. In January 2018 she took up a position as a professor at the UCL Institute of Education, leading the Centre for Education Improvement Science.

One Comment

  1. HBird 21 September, 2018 at 7:09 am - Reply

    This was really interesting and reinforces what we see in schools with women taking on the majority of commitment to childcare whether they are full or part-time this affects their ability to seek positions in different schools.

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