A woman supporting a man who has a learning disability to eat his sandwich

Why equality at work matters to us all

April 13, 2018 ENABLE Scotland Blog Jamie Rutherford, Director of Employability

Last week, all UK organisations that employ over 250 people had to submit a report describing their ‘gender pay gap’.

That is the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across the workforce in an organisation.

It’s a big deal because women in the UK earn, on average, 15% less than men.

This pay gap is a result of years of occupational segregation, a lack of flexible working and plain old discrimination – preventing £17bn of productivity in Scotland’s economy and contributing to higher levels of poverty for women and children in our country.

As you can see from ENABLE Scotland’s Gender Pay Gap Report, I am very proud to be working for one of only three large third sector organisations in Scotland that is reporting a gender pay gap in favour of female staff.

That means that women are well represented at all levels of ENABLE Scotland – from our Personal Assistants and Employment Coordinators, providing vital frontline support to people who have learning disabilities, to Team Facilitators and Managers coordinating our service delivery, to our Executive team leading this 64 year old charity.

We do have a slight balance in favour of women – and you might think that that’s par for the course in a care organisation given the occupational segregation I mentioned earlier. That doesn’t explain our positive pay gap though.

The latest SSSC report states that the adult care sector workforce in Scotland is made up of 85% women and 15% men. ENABLE Scotland is no different with about 70% of our overall workforce being made up of women.

However, the reason we have a positive overall gender pay gap – when many other care organisations don’t – is because women are represented at all levels of our business, not just the frontline.

How are we doing that? Well, mostly by doing the thing that I (as Director responsible for one of Scotland’s largest disability employment organisations) talk about a lot – flexible working and good recruitment practice.

Despite most of our work being about ‘being there’ to support disabled people to live independently and fulfil ambitions – we are proactive at promoting family friendly practices across our workforce. If someone needs to start later or finish earlier, or can’t work a day they have carer responsibilities – our working practices build that in. It makes sure we get the best for our teams and, therefore, they give their best for the people they support. As a dad to two young children myself, this is something that matters to me in my role on the Executive Team.

And on that note, in terms of representation at management and director levels, at ENABLE Scotland we are clear that we recognise and reward passion and skill – not gender. My own team of 4 Delivery Managers, responsible for contracts across 21 local authority areas of Scotland – is made up of 3 women and 1 man. Three of them have been promoted from the frontline (two of them more than once) because they have demonstrated passion for our cause and skill in the work they do. I’m lucky to work with such a talented team.

It doesn’t stop there though – our Gender Pay Gap Report wasn’t just something we had to do as part of our HMRC duties.

Our People team are always looking to improve how we recruit and retain talent – particularly at a time when the care sector is facing significant challenges in attracting younger people or those from vulnerable backgrounds.

Our focus is on being an employer where everyone, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or ability, can contribute to our vision for a Scotland where people who have learning disabilities have equal opportunities.

Find out more about working with ENABLE Scotland

Jamie Rutherford is our Director of Employability. Read on to meet the ENABLE Scotland Executive Team

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