Libraries Unlimited Gender Pay Gap as at April 2022
Libraries Unlimited Gender Pay Gap 2022
1. Executive Summary
On 5th April 2022 Libraries Unlimited had 430 relevant roles with 351 filled by women (82%)
and 79 filled by men (18%). As Libraries Unlimited does not have a bonus scheme, the
percentage difference between men and women’s bonuses was zero.
Libraries Unlimited’s Gender Pay Gap is largely a result of our workforce being predominantly
women (which we know from our colleagues is a trend across the library sector) but that being
more pronounced in the lower quartiles. There are more women at all levels of the organisation,
but significantly fewer men in the lower and lower middle quartiles (21% across both compared
to 31% in the upper quartile alone). The below chart shows that the number of men and women
on higher hourly rates are very similar, but there are a lot more women than men on the lower
Libraries Unlimited’s GPG is also affected by a high number of employees working part time
who are nationally more likely to be paid a lower hourly median pay than full time workers (1). It
is argued that this is because traditionally part-time roles are less senior and therefore are
paid less, with a legacy perspective that lower paid roles can be performed part time more
easily; and that women have been more likely to take part time roles to fit around caring
responsibilities. 65% of our workforce are part-time women, which has increased by 2% since
2021, but only 7% are part time men which has decreased by 2%.
Another factor which effects our GPG is our use of relief contracts. 31% of Libraries Unlimited’s
roles are relief of which 88% are women and 80% (a decrease by 16% since 2021) are paid
within the lower quartile. As these roles are flexible, they can be more easily managed
around caring responsibilities and therefore may be more attractive to women who continue to take on a significantly higher share of the caring. If we exclude relief roles our mean GPG reduces by 1.73%.
Our median GPG is 8.50% which has increased by 6.27% since last year. However, this is still
less than the ONS national average of 15.40%. Compared to other Library Services, our GPG
As an organisation, we are disappointed that we continue to have a Gender Pay Gap, and it is
something that we remain committed to continually working on, focussing on creating greater
diversity in our staff across the whole organisation to better represent the communities we work
in. We set out a number of actions we proposed to take in October 2021 when reporting on our
April 2020 figures. We have made some positive steps such as moving forward to become a
real living wage employer. Although, this will have had some positive effect on our April 2022
Gender Pay Gap figures, the full effect will not be represented until our April 2023 figures as
our relief staff salary increases were not made effective until after 5th April 2022.
We will continue to work on encouraging more men into frontline roles, women into senior roles
in all areas of the organisation especially traditionally male dominated sectors, and men to
utilise flexible working and family friendly policies such as Shared Parental Leave. However, it
is also important to recognise that these actions will be part of a large cultural shift that is
required, both within the organisation and as a wider society, so we recognise that this is a
direction of travel that we are very committed to, rather than actions that will automatically
result in change within the following year.
As an organisation with more than 250 employees, we are legally required to comply with
the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017 and
publish Gender Pay Gap reporting information on an annual basis. This requires us to
report on two genders only, which we recognise does not reflect everyone’s lived
experience of gender but is the legal obligation. However, as part of our diversity data, we
ask people to provide their gender identity, so we have looked at this in addition to our
legal duty, but the numbers are very small and further analysis is not possible therefore
without revealing details.
The Gender Pay Gap (GPG) is defined as the difference between the mean and median
hourly rate of pay that men and women receive, regardless of their role. It is not just a
measure of the difference in pay between men and women for doing the same job.
The mean pay gap is the difference between average hourly earnings of men and women.
The median pay gap is the difference between the mid points in the ranges of hourly
earnings of men and women. It takes all salaries in the sample, lines them up in order from
lowest to highest, and picks the middle-most salary.
3. Our Gender Pay Gap results
On 5th April 2022 Libraries Unlimited had 467 roles. However, 37 roles have been excluded
as per the government guidance as they received either ‘no pay’ in the relevant pay period
(1st – 30th April) or were on reduced pay due to maternity or paternity leave, unpaid leave
or unpaid sickness. Therefore, Libraries Unlimited had 430 roles with 351 filled by women
(82%) and 79 filled by men (18%). Some staff have multiple roles.
This means men were paid either 8.50% (median) or 16.34% (mean) more than women.
In looking at our full time (3) employees only, this gap widens with men paid 25.44% (median)
more than women. This gender pay gap for full time employees has increased compared
to last year by 15.97%.
Libraries Unlimited does not pay bonuses to any staff; therefore, the further three statutory
calculations of the mean bonus Gender Pay Gap, the median bonus Gender Pay Gap and
the proportion of men and women receiving a bonus payment are not applicable.
Libraries Unlimited’s Gender Pay Gap continues to largely be a result of our workforce
being predominantly women (which we know from our colleagues is a trend across the
library sector) but that being more pronounced in the lower quartiles. There are more
women at all levels of the organisation but are still significantly fewer men in the lower and
lower middle quartiles (21% across both) and most in the upper quartile (31%). Overall,
the percentage of roles filled by men has increased by 2.42% compared to 2021.
It is positive to see that the percentage of roles filled by men has increased by 2.42%
compared to 2021 overall. However, the increase has all been in the upper quartile (which
has seen a 12% increase in men) whilst the other quartiles have decreased, which
therefore impacts the pay gap and contributes towards the increase we have seen this
In addition to calculating the statistics that are legally required, Libraries Unlimited has
done some further analysis to aid understanding of its Gender Pay Gap.
The following graph shows that Libraries Unlimited still has significantly more women than
men on hourly rates between £8.00 – £15.99. The numbers of men and women from an
hourly rate of £16.00 upwards is relatively even. In the upper quartile there are 11 roles
with an hourly rate of £20+ and 45% of those are men, a decrease by 12% compared to
last year. Of the top 4 highest hourly rate roles of the organisation, 2 of them are female.
This indicates that our GPG is primarily caused by large proportions of women in lower
hourly rate posts, rather than male dominance in senior roles.
It is believed that the reasons for female dominance in the lower paid posts are consistent
with what has been found by the ONS, specifically a higher proportion of lower paid roles
are performed part-time, as many of our roles are, and in particular the specific flexibility
of relief contracts, which is commonly attractive to women as it is compatible with their
personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities which women are still more likely
to have than men.
4(a). Part time working
ONS report that around 6% of men work part time compared to around 18% of women (4). National statistics also show that part time workers (male and female) are paid a lower
hourly median pay than full time workers (5). It is argued that this is because traditionally
part-time roles are less senior and therefore are paid less, with a legacy perspective that
lower paid roles can be performed part time more easily. Libraries Unlimited’s GPG is
therefore slightly affected by the fact that 66% of the workforce are part-time women but
only 7% are part time men. Since 2021 the percentage of part time women in the
organisation has increased by 3% and men has decreased by 2%.
The mean gender pay gap for full time employees is 14.31% which is an increase of 2.81%
from 2021. Including part time employees, our GPG increases to 16.34%, confirming that
part time working does influence our GPG. Whilst there is a much smaller gender pay gap
for part time employees (6.65%), the average part time women’s pay is much lower than
that of their full-time colleagues, by around £3.93 per hour.
Our part time women’s pay gap which is a comparison of women’s part time average hourly
rate to men’s full time average hourly rate is 38.56%. This means part time women within
our organisation are paid 38.56% less than full time men. This has increased since 2021
by 2.69%, which has a negative effect on our GPG.
4(b). Age of staff
National Statistics (6) show that the GPG increases by around 9% for people over 40 and
this is true to for Libraries Unlimited. Our mean GPG for over 40’s is more than our GPG
for under 40’s, which is substantially different from 2021. In 2021 our mean GPG for under
40’s was 16.84% which has decreased by over 6% in 2022. Our mean GPG for over 40’s
has increased since 2021 by 3.48%.
In 2022 there has been an increase of 8 male and 18 female in the under 40 category with
the male roles falling in all four quartiles, rather than just the upper quartile as per 2021. In
2022 there are 14 roles with an hourly rate of between £10 – £24, which is an increase of
1 role compared to 2021. This has had a positive effect on our figures resulting in a
decrease in our GPG for under 40’s. When you include employees who are over 40, it
increased our overall mean GPG, suggesting that this year having an older workforce has
affected our GPG.
4(c). Relief contracts
Almost a third (31%) of Libraries Unlimited’s roles are relief roles, which has increased by
10% since 2021. Of the relief roles 88% are women (a 3% decrease since 2021) and a
majority (80%, which has decreased by 16% since 2021) are paid within the lower quartile.
It is important to note that this year there was a significant increase in the number of relief
roles included. In 2021, 51% of relief roles were excluded from our GPG reporting as they
received ‘no pay’ within the relevant period, as libraries were not open at full capacity in
April 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, so less relief cover was required, and staff were
also making individual choices not to work as well. However, this year only 16% were
excluded. This drop in exclusion of relief roles of which a majority are paid within the lower
quartile will have caused an increase to our GPG.
However, if we were to look at Libraries Unlimited’s fixed hours only roles, therefore
exclude the relief roles, our mean Gender Pay Gap would be 14.61% which is a reduction
by 1.73%. Therefore, this supports the idea that our GPG is affected by the amount of
relief roles we have. As these roles are flexible, they can be more easily managed around
caring responsibilities and therefore may be more attractive to women, as set out above.
4(d). GPG across different teams
Support/office teams make up 8.9% of our roles – this includes the following small teams,
all with a manager; Finance, IT, HR & Volunteering, Marketing, Fundraising, Premises,
Project, BIPC, Evolve, and Executive. Because they are such small teams, 87% of our
support roles fall in the Upper Middle and Upper quartiles, compared to 46% for our Service
Delivery roles. Men make up 50% of the support roles, with 89% falling in the Upper
quartile, an increase of 6% compared to 2021.
The GPG for our support teams has considerably increased since 2021 and is similar to
our 2020 figures. The median has increased from 8.07% to 23.11% (in 2020 the GPG was
24.12%). The mean has increased from 7.84% to 16.40% (in 2020 the GPG was 15.18%).
There has been an increase of women by 5% in support roles, however they are all in the
lower quartile which has had a negative effect on our support role only GPG. Our service
delivery teams median GPG has seen an increase in 2022 compared to 2021 by 3.35%
but have a similar mean GPG. However, the GPG for support teams is still considerably
higher than our service delivery teams GPG, which is 4.53% (median) and from 6.42%
The reason the GPG may be higher for the support roles is because they are largely
specialisms which tend to be dominated by men, such as IT, Finance and Executive. As
per ONS findings women hold only 20% of IT roles, 47% of Finance roles and 35% Chief
Exec & Senior roles.7 This is the case to some extent within our organisation with women
holding none of the IT roles, 87.5% of which are in the Upper Quartile. However, woman
do hold 86% of Finance roles and 50% of Chief Exec & Executive roles.
Our service delivery team have a lower GPG which indicates that there may be better
progression for women through our service delivery roles, which we also have examples
of anecdotally as well. With the support teams, there is less opportunity for progression
because they are smaller teams with less routes for people to progress into. Whilst it is
positive to see that we have seen a slight increase in women in our Support Teams making
this now a 50/50 split, this has all been in the lower quartile rather than the more senior
roles. It is therefore important now that we look at how we support women in these roles
to gain skills and experience, and to progress alongside their male colleagues.
5. External comparisons
As Gender Pay Gaps are affected by gender ratios of support staff, part time ratios and
age demographics we need to be careful when making external comparisons. The
deadline for reporting 2022 figures is also not until April 2023, so we only have 2021’s
figures publicly available, and at this stage, it is hard to say what the impact of factors such
as the COVID pandemic, competitive job markets and inflation will have had on the 2022
However, looking at 2021’s figures, our median GPG is 8.50% which highlights a greater
level of overall equality and is less than the ONS national average of 15.4%. Compared to
other Library Services such as Suffolk’s Libraries’ 2021 figures, our median is 3.20%
more (8). It is also more than “Library clerks and assistants” for 2021 (as reported in the ONS
figures) which makes up most of our workforce. This suggests that within a similar sector
our GPG is slightly higher. Our 2021 figures compared to these figures were more
favourable however, so it will be interesting to see where our 2022 figures sit alongside
the 2022 figures from other organisations when these are available.
6. Reducing the Gender Pay Gap
It is disappointing to see that we continue to have a Gender Pay Gap, particularly as this
is largely driven by the same factors that we have identified as issues in past years (as set
out above). Although we these results will have been affected by the significantly more
relief staff working during this period, as explained above, we also recognise that the fact
less relief staff worked in 2021 was an anomaly due to the pandemic and therefore may
have masked this problem in our 2021 figures, rather than 2022 being the unusual year.
However, it is important to note that one key change we had already implemented was not
fully reflected in these figures. This financial year, we have made a significant move
towards becoming a Real Living Wage employer, putting everyone except a small number
of developmental roles onto the current Real Living Wage rate of £9.90 per hour, an 11%
increase for some of our lowest paid staff compared to their 2021-22 rates. This includes
relief staff, but that side was brought in as part of a wider change of job description for
these roles, so was not fully implemented until June 2022. Had this change to relief staff
been implemented earlier, with effect 1 April 2022 our mean GPG would have been slightly
less at 14.85%, a decrease of 1.49%.
Addressing our GPG is something that we remain committed to continually working on,
focussing on creating greater diversity in our staff across the whole organisation to better
represent the communities we work in. Whilst we are frustrated to not have made further
progress yet, we also recognise that some of the factors affecting our Gender Pay Gap
are deeply ingrained and also wider societal issues. This is not intended as an excuse but
is a recognition that it will take time to bring about change. As an organisation, however,
we are not giving up on our ambition to ensure Gender Pay Gaps are eliminated and we
are committed to playing a role in that, focussing on doing what we can to push forward
The reasons behind our Gender Pay Gap as set out in this report have not substantially
changed since our last report on the 2021 figures, except that age does appear to be a
factor this time. In the report on the 2020 figures which was published in October 2021, we
set out key actions that we planned to take to address the figures (see Appendix A).
What we have done so far:
1. Moved most roles onto the current Real Living Wage rate from 1st April which has
therefore positively impacted those staff on the lower hourly rates, who are mostly
female. We also adjusted some of the other roles as a result of the knock-on effect
of this introduction.
2. Revaluated the level of responsibility and therefore rate of pay for relief staff,
increasing the hourly rate for this predominantly female group of staff and also
hopefully making these roles more attractive for a range of applicants (implemented
fully from June 2022).
3. Made changes to our recruitment practices to make our roles more accessible and
hopefully recruit a more diverse range of candidates:
- a. Undertaken a review of our Customer Service Assistant job description and
the language used within it to highlight and change any unintentional
gendered language, and created a shorter, more accessible role profile to
use when advertising vacancies. This is currently being trialled.
- b. Created “guide questions” for Customer Service Assistant applications
rather than asking for a personal statement to make it clearer what we are
looking for in an application. This is currently being trialled.
- c. Created guidance documents for managers on recruiting and shortlisting,
aimed at helping managers to recruit in an unbiased way.
- d. Created an accessible “About your interview” guide to help candidates feel
more prepared and so they know what to expect.
4. Improved our processes for requesting, recording and reporting on where
candidates find out about our jobs to better evaluate our routes for advertising
5. Continued to seek to build more substantial posts that are attractive to a wider
range of people by combining vacancies (for example by creating a Customer
Service Assistant role which sits across Tiverton and Cullompton) and by changing
our practices to allow all existing staff at a library to apply first for any very small
vacant posts that could be combined with their existing roles.
6. Carried out a survey in Autumn 2021 to understand the motivations of current relief
staff to help us think about how to target different groups who may be interested in
7. Introduced hybrid working as standard for all support teams where roles can be
done remotely from January 2022.
8. Ran a highly successful Kickstart programme using the government funding, which
helped to support people claiming Universal Credit back into work and attracted a
different group of people to some entry-level service delivery posts (for example,
the successful applicants were 85% male).
9. Introduced a training log which sets out the training staff are required to do that
includes Equality & Diversity online training as mandatory to complete on an annual
10. Supported our first members of staff ever to take Shared Parental Leave
11. Carried out our Gender Pay Gap analysis for April 2022 by July 2022 to enable us
to identify and evaluate the situation earlier in the year.
Our plans for 2022-23:
1. Continue to work towards becoming a Real Living Wage employer by 2023.
2. As part of the implementation of our 5 Year Strategy, develop a People Strategy to
cover areas such as workforce planning, succession planning, and learning &
development. This will include thinking about how we can best support the career
progression and particular challenges faced by both women and men.
3. Using the learning from the Customer Service Assistant role description and guide
questions for other roles – initially looking at First Assistant/Team Leader.
4. Develop our Jobs website to include a “Why you should work for us” section to
better sell working for the organisation and create a more realistic image of what
libraries are rather than the stereotype some people may have, so hopefully
attracting more applications and a more diverse range of applicants.
5. After the successful completion of our first Level 3 Library, Information and Archive
Services Assistant apprenticeship at Exeter Library, evaluate and consider lessons
learnt; Consider future apprenticeships, either with the same course or in different
6. Join the CILIP Employer Partnership to support staff to gain professional
qualifications and their continuing professional development as library and
7. Trial and evaluate using various locations for advertising jobs to see how this
affects the number and range of candidates who apply.
8. Consider the learning from the Kickstart project and how we can implement that
into our processes going forwards.
Our actions set out in the report were;
1. Reviewing our current recruitment practices to ensure that we are targeting less
well represented groups such as men within the lower paid roles and within our
Service Delivery teams, and women in the senior support roles. This will include:
- Working to embed diversity, inclusion, and accessibility into all stages of
our recruitment process.
- Undertaking a review of job descriptions/adverts and the language within
them to highlight and change any unintentional gendered language.
- Recognising, and challenging unconscious bias throughout the selection
2. Continuing to build more substantial posts to be attractive to a wider range of
people through things like combining roles as vacancies come up (including roles
across various locations).
3. Promoting the flexibility of our relief roles to all members of the community who
may be attracted by that flexibility, such as students, self-employed individuals with
their own businesses or part time workers who want additional income and in
particular men so that our relief roles are more representative of the communities
4. Promoting workplace flexibility for both men and women in roles where possible,
such as hybrid working (home and office based), job sharing or compressed hours.
Also encouraging men to work flexibly so that it is not seen as only a female benefit.
5. Promoting our family friendly policies to ensure that women can progress if they
have caring responsibilities and to encourage men to take on the primary carer role
where they want to do that. Also embed a culture where our family friendly policies
are not only offered but are normalised into smarter working practices. As an
organisation we provide Maternity Pay that is more generous than the statutory
minimum, like 63.5% of other organisations (36.5% do not offer enhanced
maternity pay) (9). We also provide enhanced Shared Parental Leave pay, which only
a quarter of organisations offer (10). Our Shared Parental Leave pay is enhanced at
the same rate as our Maternity Pay which supports a government initiative
identified to address GPG (11).
6. Providing apprenticeships and training opportunities for career development and
maintaining our level of internal progression, enabling employees to realise their
full potential. Also, more Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships may result in more
diversity in the lower paid roles as they may be more attractive to a wider range of
people who will then get a good start in their career.
7. Ensuring all employees undertake the E-learning Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
training, and consider how to embed this in their working practices so that everyone
feels welcomed and support when appointed so they are committed and likely to
8. Continuing to record recruitment statistics to analyse gender ratios of applicants
through recruitment stages, so that we can gain a better understanding of where
ratio disparity occurs.
9. Ensure that our Gender Pay Gap reporting for each April is done by July that year
to allow for the embedding of any actions well in advance of the next reporting
10. As part of our strategy, we will be working towards becoming a Real Living Wage
employer – this will have an impact on those on the lower hourly rates, such as
relief staff who were paid 59p per hour below the Real Living Wage in April 2021.
However, we will still have to consider the impact of this on the differentiation
between roles that is there to reflect the various levels of responsibility/technical
knowledge that is expected but becoming a Real Living Wage employer therefore
may have an positive impact on our GPG.
It is important to recognise that all of these actions will be part of a large cultural shift that
is required, both within the organisation and as a wider society, so we recognise that this
is a direction of travel that we are very committed to, rather than actions that will
automatically result in change within the following year.
(2) – Office for National Statistics – Gender Pay Gap in the UK; 2021
(3) – Full time is defined as more than 30 hours per week as per Office for National Statistics.
(4) – Based on Office of National Statistics – full time, part time and temporary workers figures EMP01 Sep – Nov 2021.