HR director is proud of company's low gender pay gap, but says 'we need to improve'.

Highways England’s HR director says she is ‘proud’ of the progress the organisation has made in narrowing the gender pay gap, but admits that it could do more to help women succeed.

The government-run organisation, which runs the country’s strategic road network, yesterday announced a mean gender pay gap of 5.4 percent – substantially lower than the national gap of around 18 percent.

By one measure, Highways England even achieved a negative gender pay gap, with the midpoint in the range of women’s pay being 1.4 percent higher than that of men.

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However, the figures revealed a slightly different picture when it comes to bonuses, with the mean gender bonus gap standing at almost 12 percent.

According to Highways England, the pay gap was down to the differing roles taken on by men and women, rather than paying men more for the same work. Women, it said in a statement, were ‘more likely’ to work in part-time roles, while men often fill higher-paid roles such as IT and engineering.

The organisation also said the bonus scheme was dictated by hours worked, so part-time employees received a smaller bonus.

San Johal, Highways England’s executive director of human resources, said progress made on the pay gap was a source of pride, but that the organisation still needed to do more to redress the balance.

‘Our mean pay gap of 5.4 percent is substantially lower than that of the UK and we are proud of the progress that we have made as an organisation to date,’ she said. ‘However, we are not at all complacent and recognise the extent of work still to be done.

‘We need to improve our retention of women, particularly in mid-level roles, and better enable all women to be successful. This can be achieved in a variety of ways and we must tackle them in the priority of most impact.’