Tops Gender Pay Report

The Early Years Sector have historically been female dominated; this remains the case for 2021 with a 97% female and 3% male workforce.

The EY workforce has been highlighted as low pay throughout the sector, with the mean hourly pay being reported as £11.78 per hour, in comparison to £18.57 for school-based providers, with 24% being paid at or below the national living wage, in comparison to 11% of school-based providers. When looking at turnover for the sector and the reasons and destinations of leavers, one of the possible reasons provided for high turnover was the lack of financial incentive to stay with staff moving to higher paying roles either within different industries such as office roles, supermarkets, teaching and adult social care as well as similar roles and sectors such as the NHS and children’s services.

The main reasons for low wages within the sector have been linked to government policies such as increases to the national minimum/living wage and under funding of free entitlement hours, whilst wages are perceived as too low providers were unable to increase wages, with staffing being highlighted as their biggest expense, it would add too much pressure on finances and business sustainability.  Although the funding rates increased this was not enough to cover the increases in national minimum wage or fully cover nursery costs, therefore leading to budget shortfalls. (The early years workforce: recruitment retention, and business planning, 2022).

This has meant establishing career opportunities and respected training has been a challenge, which has restricted the whole sector’s ability to encourage male participation in the sector, including the previously outdated negative perception of male’s working in the early years sector. The company works hard to fight this stereotyping (Nursery Management Today (NMT) & Daily Echo, 2021), promote professionalism in the sector, and campaign for better funding (Tops Day Nurseries, no date).

Tops Day Nurseries, as of the snapshot date of 5th April, is 92% Female and 8% Male with the average wage at £10.13 per hour. Norway has the highest percentage of male Early Years professionals in the world (9%) with a national target of 20% male participation.  There is no formal target set within the UK, other than to increase males working within the Early Years Sector through the Men in the Early Years (MITEY) campaign supported by the department of education. (Nursery World, 2020).

The Founder and Managing Director is female and the board 67% female, with senior management being 93% female and 7% male, and management being 88% female and 12% male.  The results show that males are paid more per hour than females in the company, this is due to males being employed in management roles, and more males being employed in technical roles (maintenance, accountancy, legal and IT positions where hourly pay in the sector is higher than in early years).

The Pay Gap

Difference between Men and Women
Hourly Fixed Pay5.1%-0.9%

The table above shows our overall mean and median gender pay gap in hourly rates of pay as of the snapshot date, 5th April 2022.

The Bonus Pay Gap

  Difference between Men and Women  
Average Bonus Payments£2,672.12£469.98
% Paid a bonus5%6%
Mean Bonus Gap78%
Median Bonus Gap76.2%

Bonus payments made to those eligible are subject to meeting specific performance criteria, therefore this would indicate that at least one of the males eligible for bonus payments has performed better in these specific areas to achieve a higher bonus payment.

Pay Quartiles

The above chart displays the gender distribution at Tops Day Nurseries across four equally sized quartiles, each made up of 104 colleagues, showing a predominantly female workforce (orange) to male (green).

The Background

This report used a total of 413 full-pay relevant employees (794 relevant employees) as of the snapshot date 5th April 2022; 371 are Female (729 relevant) and 42 Male (65 relevant). As mentioned in the executive summary, as of the snapshot date Tops Day Nurseries had a workforce of 93% Female and 7% Male. 

The ONS has reported that the median gender pay gap within the UK for full-time employees was 8.3% in 2022 with the pay gap for Child and early years officers being reported as -6% (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2022), as shown under the Gender Pay Gap section previously in this report the median gender pay gap within Tops based on full-time employees is -0.9%.

The gender pay gap figures include employees based at The Hub (i.e., senior management and board members) that due to their professions (law, accountancy, maintenance, HR) can earn higher salaries than early years workers and this is where the majority of our male workers are based, therefore this is why we see a higher percentage of males in the ‘Upper Quartile’.  Pay for early years workers is hampered by inadequate government & local authority funding for childcare education and care to both day nurseries (The early years workforce: recruitment retention, and business planning, 2022) and parents, and this impacts particularly harshly in deprived areas, where some of our nurseries are located.

Our Commitment

Tops Day Nurseries continuously produce recruitment marketing campaigns to attract all genders to join our organisation and develop careers within the Early Years sector.

We believe it’s important for children to be cared for by both female and male practitioners, as male caregivers can offer a different set of skills and experiences to children that positively boost their development; many studies have shown there are significant positive effects male practitioners have on their key-children’s development (Brandth & Kvande, 1998).

In 2008, Tops Day Nurseries produced an informative DVD of the benefits of ‘Men in Childcare’, in partnership with ‘The Children’s Workforce Development Council’, who were supporting us researching and developing a project aimed at encouraging men into the Early Years/Childcare workforce, the results of the research reflected that a higher income, career and training opportunities were very important to potential male applicants and a perceived lack of these in early years was deterring males, in particular, from applying to work in the sector, along with cultural perceptions of men who worked with children.

In our Spring/Summer 2017 edition of our Tops Day Nurseries Magazine, we have written an article further identifying the benefits of male practitioners within the Childcare industry and the careers available within our company specifically, whilst also addressing our commitment to addressing the gap in male employment within our business and the sector.

Tops is signed up to the MITEY (Men in The Early Years) Charter, which is a national network and campaign to pledge to show support in valuing men and their contribution to the care and education for young children. In 2019 the company established its own MITEY group to actively promote and create opportunity for male colleagues to embed strategies and ideas the company can implement in order to promote males not only within Tops but across the entire Early Years Sector.

Tops hold the B Corp certification ensure the companies governances the impact to worker salaries from an ethical and sustainable view, in addition Tops are active member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Childcare and Early Education, that bring together parliamentarians and leading members for the childcare and early education sector to promote and facilitate discussion on key policy issues such as lack of early year professionals due to lack of government funding to pay colleagues a competitive pay, in addition to making the sector more attractive to males.

We endeavour to ensure all colleagues, regardless of gender and other characteristics, are provided with equal pay earnings, equal career advancement and training opportunities with Tops Day Nurseries (and relevant legal entities) and will continue to advance the ways we market ourselves to attract all suitable applicants in our local communities.  Strong leadership and belief in the benefits of a mixed-gender workforce is important to Tops Day Nurseries.

Charlotte Percival

HR Director

5th April 2022

Posted in: General