Workforce profile

2021-2022

1 Overview

Reading Borough Council strives to be an inclusive and fair employer. The Equality Act 2010 lists ‘protected characteristics’ as: race, age, disability, religion and belief, sexual orientation, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership. We actively encourage people from all protected characteristics’ groups to be part of our team and we highly value people’s individual skills and talents. This analysis of our workforce by protected characteristics’ groups is central to making sure this happens. It is also a useful evidence base to inform our diversity and inclusion objectives.

The information in this report can also help us to understand whether the council’s workforce reflects the demographic of the wider community of Reading and, if not, how inroads can be made to achieve this over time. Understanding the profile of employees also means that appropriate support and solutions can be delivered.

This report will be updated on an annual basis and the information provided is based on the last complete financial year (2021/22), unless otherwise indicated.

2 Vacancies, applicants, leavers and maternity leave

2.1 Vacancies and applicants

The average number of vacancies advertised per month from in 2021/22 has significantly increased compared to previous years. The higher number of applicants in 2020/21 is most likely due to the pandemic when more people were seeking stable employment.

Vacancies and applicants2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Average number of vacancies advertised per month14252135
Number of applicants2339543375645181

The percentage of applicants from non-white backgrounds has increased in 2021/22 to 37.1% of all applicants.

Ethnic origin2018/192019/202020/212021/22
White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British53.4%53.5%50.9%49.4%
White Other8.7%10.3%10.1%8.4%
Mixed/multiple4.0%4.5%4.0%4.7%
Asian/Asian British18.0%15.5%18.4%20.9%
Black/African/Caribbean/Black British12.4%9.6%9.2%9.9%
Other ethnic group0.7%1.3%1.0%1.6%
No value (Prefer not to say)2.7%5.2%6.4%5.1%

The younger ages of applicants reflect that people in these age group are more likely to be The age profile of applicants has remained largely stable over the last 4 years.

Age range2018/192019/202020/212021/22
16 to 2930.8%35.0%36.5%33.3%
30 to 4441.3%37.5%35.6%36.3%
45 to 5922.6%19.6%18.4%21.5%
60 to 644.1%2.6%1.9%3.2%
65 to 740.5%0.6%0.4%0.4%
75 and over0.0%0.0%0.03%0%
No value (Prefer not to say)0.7%4.7%7.1%5.2%

The Council still attracts more applications from women than men, however these numbers are now more closely aligned than in 2018/19 with almost equal proportions of applications from men and women in 2021/22.

Gender2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Women62.3%52.5%55.2%56.7%
Men37.2%46.1%43.1%41.1%
No value (Prefer not to say)0.511.4%1.6%2.2%

A lower percentage of applicants’ state that they have a disability (0.8%) than the existing workforce (4.1%). There has been a steady increase in the percentage of applicants who prefer not to say if they consider themselves to be disabled.  All applicants are asked if they would like their application to be considered through the Disability Confident accessibility scheme, which guarantees an interview if they meet the minimum criteria for the job they are applying for. 

Do you consider yourself to be disabled?2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Yes4.8%3.9%0.8%0.8%
No91.2%84.9%18.4%13.5%
No value (Prefer not to say)4.0%11.2%80.9%85.7%

2.2 New starters

Some demographic characteristics of starters vary from the existing workforce:

  • 3.6% of the starters during 2021/22 reported themselves as being disabled, compared to 4.1% amongst the workforce.
  • 27.3% of new starters were from non-white British ethnicities, compared to the percentage of non-white British ethnicities in the general workforce (15.9%).
  • A much lower percentage of starters are aged 45 and over (28.9% compared to 54.1% amongst the workforce).
  • 61% of starters are female compared to those in the workforce (59.8 %).

2.3 Leavers

Labour turnover increased in 2021/22 compared to the previous year.

Rate2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Labour turnover rate  (all reasons)14.9%16.7%11.0%16.0%
Labour turnover rate (voluntary resignation)8.5%10.7%8.4%11.8%

Further information on the reasons for staff leaving employment at the Council are shown below. Voluntary resignation is the main reason, followed by retirement and the expiry of temporary contracts.

Reason for leaving2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Death in Service2242
Dismissal12353
Dismissal – Ill Health5234
Efficiency of Service1000
End of Fixed Term Contract16161913
End of Temporary Contract1000
Mutual Agreement86912
Redundancy331365
Resignation197146108204
Retirement22202618
Retirement – Ill Health1336
Retirement- Redundancy2400
Early Retirement0120
Settlement Agreement0111
TUPE Transfer891100
Unsuccessful Probation0832
Total1193226189270

The significantly higher number of leavers in 2018/19 is largely due to the TUPE transfer of 876 staff from Children’s Services to Brighter Futures for Children (the wholly Council-owned children’s company) on 1 December 2018. 

Some demographic characteristics of leavers vary from the existing workforce:

  • The proportion of leavers (73.7%) in 2021/22 that were White British is consistent with the proportion in the existing workforce (74.1%)
  • A slightly lower percentage of leavers in 2021/22 are aged 55 and over (24.4%), compared to 27.4% amongst the workforce.
  • A lower proportion (56.3%) of leavers in 2021/22 were female, compared to 59.8% of the workforce.

2.4 Maternity leave

Most staff members that go on maternity leave do return to work at the Council, with 90.9% of those that went on maternity leave during 2021/22 returning.

3 Demographic characteristics of the workforce

3.1 Disability

To ensure that our employment opportunities are accessible to people who have a disability, we fully commit to being a ‘Disability Confident Employer’. As part of this, a disabled person is guaranteed an interview if they meet the essential criteria for the job vacancy. We actively promote employment opportunities to disabled applicants, providing information in Plain English and offering accessible formats where necessary to facilitate the recruitment process. As part of our standard practice for staff, we offer specialist support such as Occupational Health and counselling.

4.1% of the workforce consider themselves to have a disability. This is in line with previous years. Staff at the Council can choose whether to classify themselves as disabled so annual fluctuations are not considered to be significant in isolation.

Disability2018/192019/202020/212021/22
No87.6%86.9%80.8%73.2%
Yes3.8%3.7%3.8%4.1%

3.2 Ethnicity

74.1% of the workforce describe their ethnicity as White English/Welsh/Scottish /Northern Irish/British. This percentage has slightly reduced over the last four years. The percentage of the workforce in non-white ethnicities has remained relatively stable in the last two years and stands at 15.9% in 2021/22.  The proportion of staff who identify as Black/Black British has shown an increase from 6.0% in 2020/21 to 6.9% in 2021/22.

Ethnicity2018/192019/202020/212021/22
White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British77.3%76.7%75.4%74/1%
White Other4.0%4.3%4.4%4.7%
Black/Black British6.9%6.3%6.0%6.9%
Asian/Asian British4.8%4.9%5.3%5.6%
Mixed ethnic background2.3%2.7%2.8%3.1%
Other ethnic groups0.3%0.3%0.3%0.3%
Prefer not to say4.4%4.9%5.7%5.3%

3.3 Age profile

A low percentage of the workforce is aged 16 to 24 (4.7%) compared to the percentage of staff aged 55 to 64 (23.7%).

The Council is actively working with local schools and colleges to offer work experience and promote employment opportunities at the Council. This aims to encourage young people to consider working at the Council as a future career option.

The percentage of the workforce aged 55 and over is 27.4% which is slightly higher than the number of staff aged 35 to 44 (24.6%). As more of the workforce moves into the 55 and over age range there is an increased importance on ensuring that in addition to retention initiatives to retain older workers, a robust succession planning mechanism is embedded to deliver business continuity, top talent, and leaders and managers of the future.

Age2018/192019/202020/212021/22
16-245.2%4.7%4.5%4.7%
25-3416.6%17.1%17.4%16.6%
35-4422.8%23.3%23.6%24.6%
45-5428.9%28.6%28.5%26.7%
55-6423.2%23.0%22.8%23.7%
65+3.3%3.3%3.2%3.7%

3.4 Gender

The Council employs more female staff, with 59.8% women and 40.2% men.

The gender split by age in 2021/22 shows a larger percentage of women in all age groups but is particularly high in the 45 to 54 range (62.5%) and the 65 and over range (63.6%). It is lower than the overall proportion of women in the workforce in the 16 to 24 age range.

Year2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Women59.5%59.1%58.7%59.8%
Men40.5%40.9%41.3%40.2%
Age groupWomenMen
16 to 2439.7%60.3%
25 to 3459.3%40.7%
35 to 4458.5%41.5%
45 to 5462.5%37.5%
55 to 6456.7%43.3%
65+63.6%36.4%

3.5 Full time and part time

Three quarters of employees work full-time. There has been a steady increase of staff in full-time work compared to part-time. All staff can benefit from a wide range of flexible working options, such as working compressed hours or working remotely, which benefit both the individual and the organisation.

Contract type2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Full time71.6%73.6%75.4%75.7%
Part time28.4%26.4%24.6%24.3%

3.6 Full time and part time by gender

A much greater percentage of women work part-time than men (86.3% compared to 13.7%). The percentage of men and women working full or part-time has remained relatively stable over time

GenderContract type2018/192019/202020/212021/22
WomenFull time49.4%49.3%49.7%50.8%
MenFull time50.6%50.7%50.3%49.2%
WomenPart time84.8%86.6%86.3%88.1%
MenPart time15.2%13.4%13.7%11.9%

3.7 Full time and part time by gender and age

A high percentage of women aged 16 to 24 (70.0%) and 25 to 34 (77.6%) work full-time. This then falls for those aged 35 to 44 (62.7%) and then rises again for women aged 45 to 54 (67.0%). Fewer than half of women aged 65 and over work full-time (40.0%), which is potentially due to flexible working and/or retirement and pension options.

More than 90% of men between the ages of 25 to 64 work full-time, and in the 16 – 24 age group 90.0% work full time, while in the 65+ category 81.8% work full time.  Again this is likely to be due to flexible retirement/working arrangements which enable employees to have a gradual route into retirement if they wish.

3.8 Length of service

2021/22 shows an increase in the proportion of staff that have worked at the Council for less than a year and has remained reasonably stable for staff who have worked at the Council for 13 or more years.

Length of service2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Less than a year1.4%5.9%8.5%12.4%
1 to 4 years26.6%29.2%29.2%28.0%
5 to 8 years14.3%12.4%14.0%13.5%
9 to 12 years12.4%11.6%9.1%6.7%
13 to 16 years13.3%11.9%10.5%11.0%
17 to 20 years12.1%10.9%10.6%10.4%
More than 20 years20.0%18.1%18.0%18.0%

3.9 Length of service by disability

Due to the low numbers recorded for employees with a disability it is difficult to note any trends related to length of service. The data is potentially disclosive and so is not shown here.

3.10 Length of service by ethnicity

25.6% of White British members of staff have worked for the Council for up to four years, compared to 30.9% of non-White British employees. A higher proportion (43.5%) of White British members of staff have worked at the Council for 13 or more years, compared to 30.5% of non-White British staff.

EthnicityLess than a year1 to 4 years5 to 12 years13 +
Asian/Asian British22.1%34.7%18.9%24.2%
Black/Black British23.3%25.0%19.0%32.8%
Mixed20.8%34.0%9.4%35.8%
Prefer not to say21.1%40.0%20.0%18.9%
Other ethnic group(s)0.0%60.0%0.0%40.0%
White British9.6%25.6%21.3%43.5%
White Other          15.2%41.8%15.2%27.8%

3.11 Length of service by age profile

There are more people in the 35 and over category that have served for longer periods and more people aged 34 and below that have served less than a year. The majority of those aged under 35 have worked at the authority 1 to 4 years. The percentage of staff that have worked at the organisation for fewer than four years declines with age. This is because the correlation between age and length of service tends to be positive, as older employees tend to have naturally been in the organisation longer, and vice versa.

3.12 Length of service by gender

The percentage of staff by gender is similar across the different service lengths, although a lower percentage of those that have served for 13 or more years are men.

GenderLess than a year1 to 4 years5 to 12 years13 +
Female62.4%59.0%57.3%61.0%
Male37.6%41.0%42.7%39.0%

3.13 Pay grade

This section features information broken down by salary grades.

Grade explanation

  • RG1 to RG6 cover a wide range of administrative, technical, clerical and manual roles. For the purpose of this report these grades also include apprentices, for whom there are separate pay arrangements.
  • RG7 to RG8 cover a range of professional and first line manager / supervisory roles.
  • RG9 to RG10 cover a range of senior professional and middle manager roles.
  • RSMD and above cover senior managers, Coroners, Assistant and Deputy Directors, Executive Directors, the Deputy Chief Executive and the Chief Executive,

The percentage of staff within each pay grade has remained relatively stable over time as shown below.

Grade2018/192019/202020/212021/22
Grades 1 to 678.3%78.3%77.7%76.3%
Grades 7 to 814.9%15.1%15.4%15.3%
Grades 9 to 104.6%4.3%4.6%5.4%
Grades RSMD and Above2.2%2.3%2.3%3.0%

3.14 Grade by disability

Due to the small number of staff that identify themselves as having a disability in each grade group, the data is potentially disclosive and so is not presented here.

3.15 Grade by ethnicity

The majority of Black/Black British employees and those from Mixed ethnic backgrounds are employed on the lower grades (1-6).

EthnicityGrade 1- 6Grade 7-8Grade 9-10RSM and above
Asian/Asian British66.3%22.1%10.5%1.1%
Black/Black British88.8%7.8%1.7%1.7%
Mixed86.8%5.7%1.9%5.7%
Prefer not to say72.2%14.4%3.3%10.0%
Other ethnic group(s)40.0%60.0%0.0%0.0%
White British75.3%16.1%5.8%2.8%
White Other87.3%10.1%2.5%0.0%

3.16 Grade by age profile

The pay grades of staff aged under 35 are lower than the older age groups, up to age 64. This is expected as in most cases staff are in the earlier stages of their careers. A larger percentage of those aged 45 to 54 are in the highest pay grades than any other age group.

AgeGrades 1-6Grades 7-8Grades 9-10RSM and above
16 to 24100%0.0%0.0%0.0%
25 to 3485.4%12.1%2.5%0.0%
35 to 4472.8%18.3%5.8%3.1%
45 to 5469.4%19.5%62%4.9%
55 to 6475.6%14.0%7.3%3.2%
65+83.9%8.1%4.8%3.2%

3.17 Grade by gender

The gender split by grade range largely reflects the overall gender split for the whole workforce (59.8% women and 40.2% men), except for the highest grade range where the proportion of women reduces to 54%.

GenderGrade 1-6Grade 7- 8Grade 9-10RSMD and above
Female59.0%63.7%63.7%54.0%
Male41.0%36.3%36.3%46.0%

4 Staff engagement and procedures

4.1 Quantitative and qualitative research with employees

A staff engagement survey was carried out in April/May 2022.  At the time of writing this report the results were still being analysed.  The previous engagement survey was April 2021, and the results were considered by some of the protected characteristics covered in this report. Overall, 58% of the workforce completed the survey.  For age, disability and ethnicity, approximately 15 – 20% of staff declined to answer or chose the ‘prefer not to say’ option for the demographic questions, despite assurances about the confidentiality of the data and an explanation of how it would be used.  This meant that it was not possible to carry out any meaningful analysis of the results by these characteristics.

4.2 Due regard to the aims of the duty in decision-making

Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are carried out on employment-related policies and procedures.  All employment policies are agreed with the Joint Trade Unions.

4.3 Engagement with trade unions and staff

The Council has a strong and positive relationship with Trade Unions and places great value on their contribution towards making the Council a great place to work.  This includes helping to build trust with the workforce, ensuring workplaces are safe, promoting equality, improving working conditions and staff retention as just a few examples. The Council meets formally with Trade Unions on a regular basis through the Local Joint Forum which includes elected members, Joint Trade Union Committee, Directorate Joint Forums and Schools Joint Forum.  In addition, regular informal meetings take place which provide a valuable forum for working in partnership on a range of issues.  A Staff Ambassadors group has recently been established where ideas, issues, and suggestions for making the Council a better place to work are discussed openly and in a spirit of free exchange of views.  This is still in the early stages and representation across a wider range of services is being sought.  The group is not a substitute for Trade Unions and management continue to consult and negotiate with recognised Trade Unions on matters that directly affect local working at the Council.

4.4 Policies and programmes to address equality concerns

The council has a range of policies to address equalities issues. Some examples of these include:

  • Equal Opportunities in Employment Policy
  • Recruitment and Retention of People with a Disability
  • Whistle-Blowing Policy
  • Grievance Policy
  • Bullying and Harassment Policy

4.5  HR Casework

In April 2021, a new Case Management module was implemented within the Council’s HR system, iTrent.  This enables more accurate recording of HR casework against the protected characteristics recorded for everyone within iTrent.  This information below includes casework raised within the Case Management module between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022.

Case TypeAll casesGender – FemaleBAMEDisability
Capability – Ill Health 6330 (48%)11 (17%) 1 (2%)
Capability – Performance 63 (50%)3 (50%) 1 (17%)
Disciplinary 278 (30%) 9 (33%)0
Grievance 125 (42%) 3 (25%)1 (8%)
Whistleblowing32 (67%)00
Total 11148 (43%)26 (23%) 3 (3%)

The Council has a Flexible Working Policy that welcomes formal requests from employees who meet the necessary criteria. We recognise the importance of a work-life balance for all staff and will consider flexible working requests on an informal basis, accommodating these where they meet business needs.

4.6 Learning and development opportunities

The Council recognises that our staff are our greatest asset and is committed to training and personal development. Our staff are central to achieving our vision to help Reading realise its potential and to ensure that everyone who lives and works here can share the benefits of its success. The Team Reading People Strategy sets out how we aim to achieve this and create an organisation that provides excellent services to Reading. 

The Council has a range of learning and development opportunities available including classroom courses, e-learning, on-the-job training and coaching and mentoring. The Council also has a programme of leadership and management development.  Development opportunities can be identified in a variety of ways including by the individual through regular 1 to 1 meetings and the annual review process. Corporate training events delivered on an ongoing basis include health and safety, first aid, stress resilience, equality and diversity, recruitment and selection, project management, Microsoft Office applications, data protection, lone working and managing aggressive behaviour.

In 2021/22, 51.2% of female employees and 32,5% of male employees accessed our corporate training.  There is a range of other learning opportunities available at the Council which are not covered in the data below which include directorate level training and apprenticeships. 

GenderNumber who accessed TrainingNumber who did not access Training
Female51.2%48.8%
Male32.5%67.5%
EthnicityProportion who accessed TrainingProportion who did not access Training
Asian/Asian British43.2%56.8%
Black/Black British40.5%59.5%
Mixed34.0%66.0%
Prefer not to say34.4%65.6%
Other ethnic group(s)80.0%20.0%
White British45.2%54.8%
White Other40.5%59.5%

4.7 Gender pay gap information

The Council has published its gender pay gap figures since 2017. The Council’s mean gender pay gap for 2022 is 0.13% and the median is 3.06%, which is an improvement compared to 2021 when the mean was 2.06% and the median was 4.91%.  The figures also compare favourably with the national average gender pay gap figure for full and part time employees which is 15.4% for 2021 (up from 14.9% in 2020). The gender pay gap report for 2022 is available on the Council’s website on the equality, diversity and inclusion policies page. 

4.8 Ethnicity pay gap information

The Council started voluntarily publishing its ethnicity pay gap figures in 2020.  Using the snapshot date of 31 March 2022, the mean ethnicity pay gap is 2.68% (i.e. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees are paid 2.68% lower than their white colleagues on average).  There is a negative median pay gap of 1.76%, meaning that the median pay of white employees is 1.76% less than for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees.  Both figures have improved since 31 March 2021, when the mean pay gap was 4.26% and the median was 5.69%. 

A further breakdown of ethnicity pay gaps for different ethnic groups is also provided in the ethnicity pay gap report for 2022 which is available on the Council’s website on the equality, diversity and inclusion policies page