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.

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.

Our approach at Chester Zoo

Here at Chester Zoo, 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 pay policy ensures 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.

How our pay is measured

In total, Chester Zoo employed 603 members of staff identifying as male or female, as at the end of April 2021 payroll figures. Our staffing level in 2021 was higher than April 2020 when we had 453 members of staff. Our usual recruitment of seasonal staff, who support the zoo during its busiest period, had commenced shortly after the zoo re-opened after lockdown on 12th April 2021. The zoo was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

Staff numbers by gender – April 2021

Female Male Total
Staff numbers 323 280 603
Percentage of total staff 54% 46%

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, Korn Ferry, to ensure this process is robust.

What is the gender pay gap?

At Chester Zoo, the average hourly gender pay gap across the organisation is 10% by mean (in favour of men) and 0% by median, based on April 2021 payroll figures.

This is predominantly due to female employees outnumbering male employees at the lower end of our pay scale. At management grades (grade 10 and above) 38% of our employees are female. In non-management roles (grades 3 to 9) 57% 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 2021, we paid the national living wage rate (applicable to those over 25) of £8.91/hour to all our grade 3 staff regardless of age.

Pay – hourly rate

Difference between men and women – April 2021

All Staff Mean Median
2021 10% (in favour of men) 0%
2020 16% 0%
2018 11% 20%

*There was no requirement to submit a report in 2019

Equal pay for equivalent roles

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 lowest paid 50% of employees (quartile 1 and 2) were also exactly equal for both men and women.

In quartile 3, the mean gap is 1% in favour of women, while in quartile 4, mean average earnings for the zoo’s highest paid 25% of employees had a gap of 7%, in favour of men, resulting from the greater proportion of males in roles of a higher pay grade within that quartile.

As of April 2021, four out of seven directorate 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 2020, quartile 1 comprises 55% female compared to 45% male, while quartile 2 comprises 56% female and 44% male. Quartile 3 is 39% female and 61% male, while quartile 4 is 39% female and 59% male.

Gender Split – by pay quartiles

Bonus pay

The gender pay gap in bonus pay by both mean and median was 0% as no bonuses were paid in the year ending April 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19. Bonuses are usually 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.

Our commitment

We remain committed to developing initiatives that will continue to help us redress any gender imbalance within our own organisation. In 2021 we undertook a hybrid working trial which has resulted in longer term hybrid working arrangements. This allows staff to split their working time between the workplace and their home, supporting greater employee flexibility and work-life balance.

Our Senior Leadership Programme was developed in 2021, 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.

We are proud of the work we have carried out in this area so far and we’ll continue to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality as we move forward.