Gender Pay Gap

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Florence Eshalomi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Women effectively stopped being paid this year on the 10th November. How are your policies tackling the gender pay gap and wider gender inequality in London?


Gender Pay Gap

Gender Pay Gap

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thank you, Chairman.  That is a damning and unacceptable statistic.  In 2018, as we celebrate the centenary of the first women winning the right to vote, I have continued to champion the huge contribution women have made and continue to make to London.  The gender pay gap in London has closed by only 0.5% in the last 20 years.  This is unacceptable.


I am committed to closing the gap across the Greater London Authority (GLA) Group and, in doing so, set an example for London’s employers.  For the second year running, we have published the gender pay gap - last year [2017], it was 6.4% - and an accompanying action plan outlining what we are doing to tackle this gap.  This year [2018] we also published the ethnicity pay gap for the first time - 16% - and I have encouraged other employers to follow suit.


To address the under-representation of women in senior roles across the GLA Group, I launched Our Time, a sponsoring programme which includes a practical toolkit for how other London employers can support women into leadership roles.  Already we have seen six employers from both the public and private sectors sign up to implement this initiative.  We are also working with employers across London to improve gender equality.  Our Good Work Standard will encourage London’s employers to create more high-quality, flexible work opportunities so that women can progress in their chosen careers.


I also want to support parents.  The maternal employment rate in London at 60.7% is lower than any other region and 40% of unemployed mothers say that finding flexible, affordable, high-quality childcare is a barrier to work.  In the GLA Group we are supporting parents with family-friendly policies such as the childcare deposit loan scheme and our new premature birth and neonatal leave, which gives parents back the time and pay that they lost in hospital with their sick baby.  More widely, we are actively looking at ways to support working parents across London with their childcare needs, including through the new Early Years Hubs.


However, you are right that gender equality is about more than closing the pay gap and our work on this reflects the range of issues we need to tackle: from supporting diversity in the architecture profession to addressing gender stereotypes in education and play, from getting the advertising sector to be more representative of the diversity of women in their adverts to ensuring that we do everything possible to reduce violence against women and girls.  Just to reassure you, I am committed to fighting for gender equality in London.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  Great.  Thank you very much for that.  I congratulate you on the fact that of your 10 Deputy Mayors, seven are now women, and for the first time we have a black female Deputy Mayor.  I am very much looking forward to working with Debbie Weekes-Bernard [Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement].


You touched on the fact that TfL and the different groups across City Hall have published their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.  TfL’s data shows that black and minority ethnic (BAME) women are still way down the pipeline in not applying.  That gap has grown by 9.8%.


What more can you do as the Chair of TfL to ensure that there are more women and more BAME women applying for some of those roles and making sure that they are in higher positions across the TfL group?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You will know about this because you are living it in relation to intersectionality and in relation to different protected strands being affected by certain Londoners.  Being a woman and being black means that the pay gap unfortunately is worse than the gender pay gap, as you have alluded to.


What we have done in TfL is we have over the last year appointed TfL’s first-ever Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Staynton Brown, and I would recommend you and other colleagues meet with him so that he can talk to you about some of the things that TfL is doing.  He has made sure there is a renewed focus on ensuring there is a strong female and BAME talent pipeline.  That is really important.


There is a maximising potential talent management framework.  This is essentially about managing the talent.  Of course recruitment is important, but once you have them in, how do you manage talent to make sure they flourish in the workplace?  Also, TfL is doing some really good work in relation to a leader-led programme and also TfL is part of the Our Time initiative.


I encourage you to proffer your ideas to Staynton [Brown] as well as meet with him so that he can explain some of the things TfL is doing.  I want TfL to be a world leader when it comes to making sure we can have everyone’s potential fulfilled.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  That is great.  You have touched on some of the barriers facing women, especially women who have had children in terms of going back to the workplace, and we know that childcare costs in London are expensive.  I know there is not legislation covering this and your hands may be tied, but what more could you do to encourage businesses to look at making sure they advertise all roles as flexible unless there is a strong business case not to do so?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It goes back to an issue that was raised at previous Mayor’s Question Time meetings by Fiona Twycross [AM] in relation to apprentices and why they should all have the option of part‑time rather than there being a presumption the other way around.  You are right about flexible working.  It is a similar thing.  Most workers can be trusted to either work from home or have flexible working and are conscientious.  There is evidence that it helps productivity, helps staff morale, helps recruitment and helps progression.


The Good Work Standard we are working on will have what you have alluded to in relation to helping employers support women to progress in their careers, which includes flexible working and also affordable childcare facilities as well.  We hope to launch that formally early next year [2019], but we are working with employers now to make sure we get that in there.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  Great.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.