Workforce profile


1 Overview

Reading Borough Council strives to be an inclusive and fair employer. The analysis of our workforce profile in relation to equalities is central to making sure that this happens. This report provides an overview of the range of people in the council and serves as an evidence base to inform the council’s equalities objectives, which form part of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Equality Act 2010). The information contained in this document is also reported to the council’s Personnel Committee.

The council actively encourages individuals from all protected characteristics’ groups[1] to be part of its team and highly values people’s individual skills and talents. The information included in this report is also used to understand whether the council’s workforce reflects the demographic of the wider community and, if not, how progress 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 (2022/23), unless otherwise indicated.

2 Vacancies, applicants, leavers and maternity leave

2.1 Vacancies and applicants

We track the number of advertised vacancies by month:

Vacancies and applicants2019/202020/212021/222022/23
Average number of vacancies advertised per month33203643
Number of applicants4,7625,8904,4985,586

In addition, we also track the ethnic diversity of applicants. The number of White British applicants has dropped compared to the last two years and the number of applicants from BME groups has increased to 43.6%.

Ethnic origin2019/202020/212021/222022/23
White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British53.5%50.9%49.4%41.3%
White Other10.3%10.1%8.4%10.2%
Asian/Asian British15.5%18.4%20.9%25.6%
Black/African/Caribbean/Black British9.6%9.2%9.9%11.7%
Other ethnic group1.3%1.0%1.6%1.9%
No value (Prefer not to say)5.2%6.4%5.1%4.9%

There has been a slight increase in the number of younger applicants:

Age range2019/202020/212021/222022/23
16 to 2935.0%36.5%33.3%36.0%
30 to 4437.5%35.6%36.3%37.1%
45 to 5919.6%18.4%21.5%19.0%
60 to 642.6%1.9%3.2%2.4%
65 to 740.6%0.4%0.4%0.7%
75 and over0.0%0.03%0%0.0%
No value (Prefer not to say)4.7%7.1%5.2%4.8%

The Council continues to attract more applications from women than men:

No value (Prefer not to say)1.4%1.6%2.2%1.7%

A lower percentage of applicants’ state that they have a disability (0.5%) than the existing workforce (4.1%). This could be due to new applicants being asked to say if they would like 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.  The percentage of applicants who declare that they have a disability has decreased in 2022/23 but this may be due to the large increase in the percentage who prefer not to say. 

Do you consider yourself to be disabled?2019/202020/212021/222022/23
No value (Prefer not to say)11.2%80.9%85.7%89.1%

2.2 Starters

There are some notable demographic characteristics of new starters compared to the existing workforce:

  • 1.2% of the starters during 2022/23 reported themselves as being disabled, compared to 4.1% amongst the workforce.
  • 28.1% of the starters were from non-White British ethnicities, compared to the percentage of non-White British ethnicities in the general workforce (17.0%).
  • A much lower percentage of starters are aged 45 and over (32.9% compared to 55.2% amongst the workforce).

2.3 Leavers

Voluntary labour turnover increased in 2022/23 compared to the previous year.

Labour turnover rate  (all reasons)16.7%11.0%16.0%14.6%
Labour turnover rate (voluntary resignation)10.7%8.4%11.8%13.6%

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

Reason for leaving2019/202020/212021/222022/23
Death in Service2421
Dismissal – Ill Health2340
End of Fixed Term Contract1619130
End of Temporary Contract00020
Mutual Agreement69129
Retirement – Ill Health3365
Retirement- Redundancy4003
Early Retirement1200
Settlement Agreement1110
TUPE Transfer1000
Unsuccessful Probation8324

Some demographic characteristics of leavers:

  • 4.0% of leavers during 202/23 reported themselves as being disabled, compared to 4.1% amongst the workforce as a whole
  • A slightly lower percentage of leavers in 2022/23 are aged 55 and over (23.3%), compared to 29.4% amongst the workforce.
  • A lower proportion (55.0%) of leavers in 2022/23 were female, compared to 60.8% of the workforce.

2.4 Maternity leave

The vast majority of staff members that go on maternity leave return to work at the council –  100% of those that went on maternity leave during 2022/23 returning.

3 Demographic characteristics of the workforce

3.1 Disability

To ensure that our employment opportunities are accessible to disabled people, we are committed to be a ‘Disability Confident Employer[1]’. We actively promote employment opportunities to disabled applicants, providing information in Plain English and offering accessible formats where necessary to facilitate the recruitment process.

4.1% of the workforce consider themselves to have a disability. This is in line with previous years:


3.2 Ethnicity

71.1% of the council’s workforce describe their ethnicity as White English/Welsh/Scottish /Northern Irish/British. This percentage has decreased compared to other years. The percentage of the workforce in Non-White ethnicities has increased in the last two years and stands at 17.0% in 31st March 2023.  The proportion of staff who identify as Black/Black British has shown an increase from 6.9% in 2020/21 to 7.1% in 2022/23.

White: English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British76.7%75.4%74/1%71.1%
White Other4.3%4.4%4.7%6.1%
Black/Black British6.3%6.0%6.9%7.1%
Asian/Asian British4.9%5.3%5.6%6.6%
Mixed ethnic background2.7%2.8%3.1%3.1%
Other ethnic groups0.3%0.3%0.3%0.2%
Prefer not to say4.9%5.7%5.3%5.7%
Workforce by ethnicity for 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

3.3 Age profile

The percentage of staff under the age of 24 continues to be low (4.8%) compared to the percentage of staff aged 55 to 64 (25.3%). The council is pro-actively working with local schools and colleges to promote employment opportunities – including apprenticeships.

The percentage of the council’s workforce aged 55 and over is 29.4% which is slightly higher than the number of staff aged 35 to 44 (23.8%). 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.

Workforce by age for 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

3.4 Gender

The Council employs more female staff, with 59.8% females and 40.2% males, although this distribution had dropped in the three years prior it is now increasing, as shown in the table below.

The gender split by age in 2022/23 shows a predominantly larger percentage of female employees in all age groups but is particularly high in the 45 to 54 range (63.3%) and the 35 to 44 range (62.6%).

Age groupWomenMen
16 to 2459.3%40.7%
25 to 3459.6%40.4%
35 to 4463.6%37.4%
45 to 5463.3%36.7%
55 to 6457.5%42.5%
Workforce by age and gender shown in bar chart.

3.5 Full time and part time

About three quarters of employees within the council work full-time, whilst 22.3% work part-time. There has been a steady increase of staff in full-time work compared to part-time. Both full-time and part-time staff are afforded the benefit of a wide range of flexible working options, such as working compressed hours or working remotely, which benefit both the individual and the organisation.

Contract type2019/202020/212021/222022/23
Full time73.6%75.4%75.7%77.7%
Part time26.4%24.6%24.3%22.3%
Bar chart showing workforce by full and part time.

3.6 Full time and part time by gender

A much greater percentage of females work part-time than males (89.5% compared to 10.5%). The percentage of males and females working full or part-time has remained relatively stable over time:

Bar charts showing workforce by full/part time and gender.
GenderContract type2019/202020/212021/222022/23
WomenFull time49.3%49.7%50.8%52.5%
MenFull time50.7%50.3%49.2%47.5%
WomenPart time86.6%86.3%88.1%89.5%
MenPart time13.4%13.7%11.9%10.5%

3.7 Full time and part time by gender and age

A higher percentage of females aged 45 to 54 (56.3%) and 25 to 34 (57.1%) work full-time. This then falls for those aged 16 to 24 (51.5%) and then rises again for females aged 35 to 44 (52.9%). Fewer than half of females aged 65 and over work full-time (42.5%), which is potentially due to flexible working and/or retirement and pension options.

More than 90% of Males between the ages of 25 to 64 work full-time, and in the 16 – 24 age group 48.5% work full time, while in the 65+ category 57.5% 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.

Bar chart showing fulltime workforce by gender and age.

3.8 Length of service

2022/23 shows a slight decrease in the proportion of staff that have worked at the council for less than a year and has remained relatively stable for all other staff :

Length of service2019/202020/212021/222022/23
Less than a year5.9%8.5%12.4%12.1%
1 to 4 years29.2%29.2%28.0%28.7%
5 to 8 years12.4%14.0%13.5%14.4%
9 to 12 years11.6%9.1%6.7%6.5%
13 to 16 years11.9%10.5%11.0%9.8%
17 to 20 years10.9%10.6%10.4%10.3%
More than 20 years18.1%18.0%18.0%18.1%
Bar chart showing workforce by length of service.

3.9 Length of service by disability

Due to the low numbers recorded for employees with a disability it is difficult to note any particular trends pertinent to their length of service.

3.10 Length of service by ethnicity

33.1% of White British members of staff have worked for Reading Borough Council for up to four years, compared to 26.7% of non-White British employees. 43.6% of White British members of staff have worked at the council for 13 or more years, compared to 26.2% of non-White British staff.

EthnicityLess than a year1 to 4 years5 to 12 years13+
Asian/Asian British29.2%31.9%21.2%17.7%
Black/Black British14.9%33.1%21.5%30.6%
Prefer not to say27.8%40.2%15.5%16.5%
Other ethnic group(s)0.0%66.7%0.0%33.3%
White British8.7%25.5%22.2%43.6%
White Other11.5%40.4%17.3%30.8%
Bar chart showing workforce by length of service and ethnicity.

3.11 Length of service by age profile

There are more people in the 35 and over category who 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  been in the organisation longer:

Bar chart showing workforce by age and length of service.

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 male.

GenderLess than a year1 to 4 years5 to 12 years13 +
Bar chart showing workforce by length of service and gender.

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.

Grades 1 to 678.3%77.7%76.3%74.8%
Grades 7 to 815.1%15.4%15.3%15.7%
Grades 9 to 104.3%4.6%5.4%6.3%
Grades RSMD and Above2.3%2.3%3.0%3.2%
Bar chart showing workforce by grade.

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. The council continues its commitment to be a Disability Confident Employer to encourage applications from disabled candidates and promote development for existing disabled members of staff.

3.15 Grade by ethnicity

There is a lower percentage of White British staff in RG1 to RG6 than the percentage of staff from non-White British ethnic groups.

EthnicityGrade 1 to 6Grade 7 to 8Grade 9 to 10RSM and above
Asian/Asian British67.3%21.2%8.8%2.7%
Black/Black British84.3%9.9%3.3%2.5%
Prefer not to say61.9%19.6%5.2%13.4%
Other ethnic group(s)33.3%66.7%0.0%0.0%
White British74.7%15.9%6.8%2.6%
White Other81.7%13.5%3.8%1.0%
Bar chart showing workforce by ethnicity and pay grade.

3.16 Grade by age profile

The pay grades of staff aged under 35 are lower than the older age groups. 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 to 6Grades 7 to 8Grades 9 to 10RSM and above
16 to 24100.0% – – –
25 to 3484.1%13.4%2.5% –
35 to 4469.6%19.6%8.2%2.7%
45 to 5467.0%19.8%8.4%4.8%
55 to 6475.9%13.2%6.3%4.4%
Bar chart showing workforce by age and grade.

3.17 Grade by gender

There is a higher proportion of female workers in all categories.

GenderGrades 1 to 6Grades 7 to 8Grades 9 to 10RSMD and above
Bar chart showing workforce by gender and grade.

4 Staff engagement and procedures

4.1 Quantitative and qualitative research with employees

A staff survey was carried out in July 2023 and the results were analysed at a corporate level, by ED area and by AD area. The results were also analysed by protected characteristic  and  demographic group. The results will be shared – along with the staff survey action plan – at the meeting.

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

Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) are carried out on all employment-related policies and procedures and general employment issues are discussed with Unison.

4.3 Staff complaints

There were no staff complaints recorded as instances of discrimination during the period which this report covers.

4.4 Engagement with trade unions and staff

The Council recognises the value of a strong and effective relationship with our Trades Unions and regular formal and informal discussions are held with them including a quarterly meeting with the Chief Executive. The Trade Unions are invited to be part of significant projects and programmes including Team Reading Board, Modern Workplace etc.

RBC has a range of engagement mechanisms with staff including the Chief Executive’s briefings, Team Talk and through staff groups. Recently RBC held its first Big Conversation with staff (on EDI).

Work is underway further to develop our engagement frameworks and a paper is due to be considered by  CMT in December.

4.5 Policies and programmes to address equality concerns

RBC has recently developed its Inclusion and Diversity strategy and plan – this strategy had significant input from staff and stakeholders, including Trades Unions. The three year action plan to support delivery of the I&D strategy contains a number of specific actions to drive inclusion and diversity including development opportunities, policy reviews and enhanced reporting mechanisms.

HR Casework

Completed HR Casework – Use of Formal Procedures – April 2022 to March 2023 – Analysis by Employee Profile

Case TypeAll casesGender – FemaleBAMEDisability
Capability – Ill Health 11837 (31.4%)1 (3%) 2 (1.7%)
Capability – Performance 2210 (45.5%)3 (33.3%) 21 (9.1%)
Disciplinary 233 (13%) 3 (33.3%)0
Grievance 169 (56.3%) 2 (25%)2 (12.5%)
Total 17959 (33%)9 (15.3%) 1 (3.4%)

Completed HR Casework – Use of Formal Procedures – April 2022 to March 2023 – Employee Profile Not Recorded

Case TypeAll casesGender – not recordedBAME – not recordedDisability – not recorded
Capability – Ill Health 1182 (1.7%)7 (21.2%) 46 (39%)
Capability – Performance 220 2 (22%) 13 (59.1%)
Disciplinary 232 (8.7%) 1 (11.1%)12 (52.2%)
Grievance 160 2 (25%)4 (25%)
Total 1794 (2.2%)14 (20.3%) 26 (39.39%)

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 is committed to training and personal development. Every member of staff has a crucial role to play in enabling the council to make a difference: to make the borough an even better place to be and to help meet the challenges faced within local communities. To that effect, the council has a People Strategy in place with the aim “to have the right people, in the right job, with the right skills”.

To deliver on this, the council has a range of learning and development opportunities available including classroom courses, e-learning and a professional qualification support scheme as well as on-the-job training, and mentoring. The council also has an integrated programme of leadership and management development.

In 2022/23 48.4% of the total workforce accessed our corporate training, 55.7% of females accessed training and 53.7% of Black/ Black British staff accessed training compared to 47.4% of White British Staff.

GenderNumber who accessed TrainingNumber who did not access Training
Bar chart showing workforce by gender and accessed training.
EthnicityNumber who accessed trainingNumber who did not access training
Asian/Asian British55.8%44.2%
Black/Black British53.7%46.3%
Prefer not to say45.4%54.6%
Other ethnic group(s)33.3%66.7%
White British47.4%52.6%
White Other46.2%53.8%
Bar chart showing workforce by ethnicity and accessed training.

Development opportunities can be identified in a variety of ways including by the individual through regular 1 to 1 meetings and the performance appraisal process. Training courses 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.

4.7 Gender pay gap information

The council has been required to publish and report specific figures about its gender pay gap since 2017. Using the required snapshot date of 31 March 2023 for public sector organisations, the council was pleased to report a median gender pay gap of 0.0%. This showed the council was performing positively against the national average of 14.9% (in favour of men).

The council will be publishing it’s 2023 gender pay gap report on it’s website, and on the government reporting website, by 30 March 2024.

4.8 Ethnicity pay gap information

Large organisations are not yet legally required to publish their ethnicity pay gap, but the Council has chosen to voluntarily publish its data for the fourth year.

Based on data at the snapshot date of 31 March 2023, the mean pay gap for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees is 2.46%. There is a negative median pay gap of 0.40%, meaning that the median pay of white employees is 0.40% less than for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees. 

The council will be publishing it’s 2023 ethnicity pay gap report on it’s website by 30 march 2024.

Last updated on 08/05/2024