Research Report for Office of Manpower Economics (OME), Research on Public Sector Pay and Workforces 2018

By applying established regression and decomposition methods to secondary data from the 2018 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and the 2016-2018 Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) this report aims to enhance our understanding of the drivers of the contemporary gender pay gap (GPG) within the UK public sector. This is done in several stages, including through comparisons between the public and private sector, and within the public sector on the basis of occupations covered by Pay Review Bodies (PRBs). In both cases we consider GPGs at the mean and then across the earnings distribution. Throughout our analysis we separate the raw hourly GPG into two elements to better understand its drivers. The first element is that part of the raw gap which can be explained by differences in observable personal and work-related characteristics between men and women, such as job tenure or contract type. The second element is that part of the raw gap which is not explained by the observable characteristics in our model and is closer to a measure of unequal treatment on the basis of similar characteristics. Evidence of the latter, or what we refer to as an unexplained GPG, is of particular interest given the remit of PRBs in relation to anti-discrimination legislation under the Equality Act (2010).