Gender Pay Gap

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. The gap exists across society, for a number of reasons.

At Chester Zoo, we’re committed to ensuring our workplace is as fair as possible and that all staff have equal opportunities for career progression.

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.

Our staff

In total, Chester Zoo employed 875 members of staff identifying as male or female, as at the end of April 2022. Our staffing level in April 2022 was higher than April 2021 when we had 603 members of staff. In 2022, the zoo returned to a more normal level of operation following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, by April, the zoo had recruited a much higher level of seasonal staff to support the zoo during its busiest period. In 2021, this recruitment process did not occur until after the zoo re-opened from lockdown on 12 April.


Staff numbers by gender – April 2022

Female Male Total
Staff numbers 481 394 875
Percentage of total staff 55% 45%

What is the gender pay gap?

At Chester Zoo, the average hourly gender pay gap across the organisation is 9% by mean (in favour of men) and 0% by median, based on April 2022 payroll figures.

A factor in this is that female employees outnumbering male employees at the lower end of our pay scale. At management grades (grade 10 and above) 41% of our employees are female (2021: 38%). In non-management roles (grades 3 to 9) 57% are female (2021: 57%). This mirrors the gender ratio of applicants for these roles.

Pay – hourly rate

Difference between men and women – April 2022

All Staff Mean Median
2022 19% (in favour of men) 0%
2021 10% 0%
2020 16% 0%

*There was no requirement to submit a report in 2019

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

Median average earnings for the zoo’s employees across all quartiles were equal with no gender pay gap. Mean average earnings among the first three quartiles of employees (quartiles 1 to 3) were also equal for both men and women.

In quartile 4, mean average earnings for the zoo’s highest paid 25% of employees had a gap of 7%, in favour of men (2021: 7%) resulting from the greater proportion of males in roles of a higher pay grade within that quartile.

As of April 2022, five out of nine director roles (the most senior positions in the zoo) were held by women. Individual changes in this relatively small senior leadership team can sway the balance of the gender pay gap figures.

Gender split by pay quartiles

Overall, as of April 2022, quartile 1 comprises 58% female compared to 42% male, while quartile 2 comprises 60% female and 40% male. Quartile 3 is 56% female and 44% male, while quartile 4 is 46% female and 54% male.

Gender Split – by pay quartiles

Bonus pay

The gender pay gap in bonus pay by median was 0%. However, the pay gap by mean was 4% in favour of men. 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 or gender, and are proportional to hours worked. The mean pay gap in favour of men is therefore as a result of more women as a proportion, working less than full time hours.

Our commitment to closing the gender pay gap

We are committed to ensuring that we continue to close the gap over the coming years. We continue to review our Equality Diversity and Inclusion (“EDI”) reporting to include a wider range of data sets, including recruitment data and will continue to analyse this data to inform key areas of focus where action can be taken to make improvements. We have also created a cross-departmental EDI working group who will work together to identify and drive forward initiatives to ensure we make further progress in this area.

One of the initiatives we have already put in place include delivery of our Senior Leadership Programme in 2022. An externally facilitated 9-month programme accredited by the Institute of Learning and Management, aligned to our organisational values and developing leaders across the organisation.

Our commitment to equal pay

At the zoo, we ensure that all employees within the same pay grade are paid the same salary, regardless of gender or age. Likewise, 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.

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 represented equally within each job grade, our pay gap would be 0%.

We use an independent external third-party company to help with this process, KornFerry, to ensure this process is robust.

We are also 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 2022, we paid the national living wage rate (applicable to those over 25) of £9.50 per hour to all our grade 3 staff regardless of age. In May 2022, in order to assist our lower paid team members with the impending cost of living increases, we increased this rate to £9.90 which was 40p per hour above the National Living Wage.