SLOW PROGRESS ON WOMEN IN TOP POSITIONS IN FINANCE

There are nine positions at Secretary General, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Director Level in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Four of these are filled by women (44.4%). This is also above the Civil Service average.  The seven positions at Secretary General and Assistant Secretary in the Department of Finance are all currently occupied by men.

Below is the reply from Minister Paschal Donohue:

QUESTION: JOAN BURTON TD

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a gender analysis of the various grades of staff in his Department and the Department of Finance at grades (details supplied); the existing gender pay gap; the way in which he plans to address same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Secretary General Deputy Secretary General Assistant Secretary General Principal Officer Assistant Principal Officer Higher Executive Officer Senior Executive Officer Clerical Officer and other specialist grades,

MINISTER’S REPLY

The gender breakdown of staff in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance is set out below:

The percentage of female staff in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform stands at just over 54%. In the Department of Finance this figure is just below 43%. Considered together the percentage of female staff across the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Finance is over 49%.
There is a clear majority of female staff at Temporary Clerical Officer, Clerical Officer and Executive Officer grades in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform: sixty-one female officers compared to twenty-five male officers which is just over 70.9% of the total number employed at these grades. In the Department of Finance female officers represent 62.63% of staff at these grades (fifty-seven out of a total of 91).
At Higher Executive Officer and Administrative Officer levels in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, 91 out of a total of 174 officers are female which represents just over 52% of staff at these grades. In the Department of Finance, women fill 43 of 111 posts at these grades, a percentage of 38.7%.
The percentage of women filling the Senior Management roles of Assistant Principal and Principal Officer in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform stands at 47% (74 out of 157). This is above average levels seen across the Civil Service as set out in the recent ESRI Gender Study report. The corresponding figure for the Department of Finance is 39% (39 out of 100).
There are nine positions at Secretary General, Deputy Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Director Level in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Four of these are filled by women (44.4%). This is also above the Civil Service average. The seven positions at Secretary General and Assistant Secretary in the Department of Finance are all currently occupied by men.

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The pay of all civil servants is governed by the relevant pay scales and circulars.  There is no differentiation made or admissible on the basis of gender.

 

Appointment processes for recruitment to positions within the Civil Service are subject to Codes of Practice published by the Commission for Public Service Appointments, with all appointments based on merit.

 

The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill and the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 are important tools in addressing the question of gender in the public and private sectors.

 

The publication of the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill was approved by the Cabinet on 26th June 2018 and sets out the Government’s commitment to gender equality. This significant Bill will provide that employers with a certain number of employees (which will be set at 50 or more after an initial period of operation for bigger firms) must publish information on the gender pay gap in their firm.

 

The regulations will apply to the public as well as the private sector and, in addition to differences in hourly pay, will require the publication of information on differences in bonus pay, part-time pay and pay of men and women on temporary contracts. The regulations may also require publication of differences in pay by reference to job classifications.

 

The enforcement mechanisms include a power for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to apply to the Circuit Court for an order requiring an employer to comply with the legislation. Also, an employee of the employer concerned may apply to the Workplace Relations Commission for an order requiring compliance. There is a provision too for designated officers who would investigate a sample of employers to ensure that the information published is accurate.

 

The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 sets out six high-level objectives to achieve the overall goal of the strategy in changing attitudes and practices preventing women’s and girls’ full participation in education, employment and public life, at all levels, and to improve services for women and girls, with priority given to the needs of those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, the poorest outcomes.

 

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The Civil Service Renewal Plan commits to improving gender balance at senior grades. In January 2017 I announced a range of initiatives to help improve gender balance in the civil service, particularly at senior level. The gender balance policy measures enjoy the full support of the Government. In particular a target of 50/50 gender balance in appointments at senior levels is in place. While the merit based approach of “best person for the job” will continue to apply, in cases where candidates who compete for Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) positions are of equal merit, then priority would be given to the female candidate where they are under-represented on the Management Board of the Department/Office in question.

The ESRI Research Series report A Study of Gender in Senior Civil Service Positions in Ireland was published in December 2017. With high level input from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; the Public Appointments Service; and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the report drew on a combination of administrative data, reanalysis of the Civil Service Employee Engagement Survey conducted in 2015, in-depth work history interviews with 50 civil servants across 4 Departments and 11 interviews with people working in HR in the Civil Service. The report points to a need for greater availability of flexible working arrangements, the importance of addressing high work pressure and a long-hours culture for senior levels which are among the key issues deterring women from seeking senior positions in the Civil Service.

The Civil Service Management Board is currently considering this Report and developing actions regarding flexible working arrangements.