Gender Pay Gap

Across the UK, a range of factors contributes towards the existence of a gender pay gap, such as the fact that men are statistically more likely to be in senior roles or that women are statistically more likely to be in part-time roles.

Here at Chester Zoo, all employees within the same pay grade are paid the same salary, regardless of gender or age.

Our bonus scheme awards identical bonus payments to eligible staff based on the success of the zoo each year, regardless of gender or job level.

We’re proud of the contribution of every single member of our team and remain committed to our initiatives that help address some of the societal factors influencing the make-up of our organisation. We believe this will help us continue to prevent extinction by maximising the potential of our wonderfully passionate, expert and talented workforce.

How our pay is measured

In total, Chester Zoo employed 453 members of staff as at the end of April 2020 payroll figures. Our staffing level in 2020 was much lower than is normal (in April 2019 we had 902 members of staff). Our usual recruitment of seasonal staff, who support the zoo during its busiest period, had been put on hold, whilst the zoo was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff numbers by gender – April 2020

Female Male Total
Staff numbers 247 206 453
Percentage of total staff 55% 45%

To ensure that every member of our team is paid equally, we use a job evaluation process to ensure we have a fair way of assessing the size of roles, accurate job description information and a fair pay structure. Job roles are independently assessed and graded from grade 3 to grade 14 to ensure equal pay for equivalent jobs. This process ensures that if each gender was numbered equally within each job grade, our pay gap would be 0%.

We use an independent external third party company, Korn Ferry, to ensure this process is robust.

What is the gender pay gap?

A gender pay gap is a measure of the difference in the average pay of men and women across an organisation as a whole.

At Chester Zoo, the average hourly gender pay gap across the organisation is 16% by mean (in favour of men) and 0% by median, based on April 2020 payroll figures. This is predominantly due to female employees significantly outnumbering male employees at the lower end of our pay scale. At management grades (grade 10 and above) 40% of our employees are female. In non-management roles (grades 3 to 9) 59% are female. This mirrors the gender ratio of applicants for these roles.

We are committed to a fair pay policy that supports our team members at the lower end of our pay scale. At the date of compiling these figures in April 2020, we paid the national living wage rate (applicable to those over 25) of £8.72/hour to all our grade 3 staff regardless of age.

Pay – hourly rate

Difference between men and women- April 2020

Mean Median
All staff 16% (in favour of men) 0%

Equal pay for equivalent roles

All Chester Zoo employees within the same pay grade are paid the same salary, regardless of gender (or age).

Average earnings for the zoo’s lowest paid 25% of employees (quartile 1) were exactly equal for both men and women.

In quartile 2, there was a 0% median and 4% mean pay gap in favour of women. In quartile 3, the gap is 7% for the mean and 1% for the median, again in favour of women.

In quartile 4, average earnings for the zoo’s highest paid 25% of employees had a gap of 8% in the median and 6% mean, in favour of men, resulting from the greater proportion of males in roles of a higher pay grade within that quartile.

As of April 2020, four out of nine directorate roles (the most senior positions in the zoo) were held by women, with one woman working part time. Individual changes in this relatively small senior leadership team can sway the balance of the gender pay gap figures.

Gender split by quartiles 

Overall, as of April 2020, quartile 1 comprises 60% female compared to 40% male, while quartile 2 comprises 57% female and 43% male. Quartile 3 is 62% female and 38% male, while quartile 4 is 60% men and 40% women.



Bonus pay

We report a 0% gender pay gap in bonus pay by median. Bonuses are paid to staff (excluding seasonal staff) based on the success of the zoo each year. Payments are equal for all staff, regardless of pay grade (and gender), and are proportional to hours worked, meaning that part time staff receive a proportionately lower bonus to full time staff. As a result of a higher percentage of our part time staff being female, there is therefore a 5% gender pay gap by mean average in favour of men, although the median remains at 0%.


Difference between men and women – April 2020

Mean Median
All staff 5% 0%

Of the 453 staff employed in April 2020, 94% of females had received a bonus in the last 12 month period; compared to 91% of males. This difference reflects the gender split of new starters in the period January – April 2020 who had not received the bonus which had been paid in December 2019. Overall, 55% of all bonuses were awarded to females, with 45% to males, which is in line with the gender split of our total staff numbers.

Going forwards

Chester Zoo’s gender pay gap is in line with the UK average and our pay structure means that all employees within the same pay grade are paid the same salary, regardless of gender or age.

We remain committed to developing initiatives that will continue to help us redress any gender imbalance within our own organisation. We offer a flexible working policy, welcome applications for part-time working and publicly celebrate the achievements of the world-leading experts of any gender in our teams, as an example of what we can achieve.

We are proud of the work we have carried out in this area so far and, as we’re always striving to improve wherever we can, we’ll continue to work with external specialists who ensure independent, robust assessment of job levels within our equal pay structure.