THE county council has revealed that its pay gap between men and women is slightly higher than the national average.

Hampshire County Council had, for the year ending March 2018, on average, an 18.3 per cent pay difference between the men and women it had working for the authority.

This is a small improvement on the previous year for the county council.

The latest national figure is 17.9 per cent pay difference, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “The county council is restricted in how it may present this information, and as such it is important to note that the gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay.

“The county council adheres to the principle of equal pay for all employees, irrespective of gender, and ensures that it meets the requirements of the Equal Pay Act 1970.

“While women’s general hourly rate is 18.3 per cent lower than men, this is not as a result of paying men more than women for the same or equivalent work.

“County council staff are paid the same for the same job, but the gender pay gap exists due to our workforce profile.

“The majority of our workforce is female, and this is most pronounced at the lower pay grades.

“In particular, the county council is quite unusual as a local authority as we have kept a number of services in our direct control, such as school meals, because we think it is important to do so.

“Other agencies ‘outsource’ these services, which tend to employ mostly women, and that affects the gender pay gap reports.

“At the same time, however, we are making good progress in supporting more women to progress to higher grade jobs across the county council - with women now making up 54 per cent of senior managers within the organisation.”

The government now requires all public organisations which have more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap figures on annual basis.