Men working for East Ayrshire Council earn on average nearly £1 more an hour extra than women, the latest pay gap audit shows. 

Male council employees took home £16.30 an hour while women earned £15.40 on average during the financial year 2019 to 2020. 

But when it comes to a small number of chief officer management posts women came out on top - earning £54.10 an hour compared to £52.42 for men. 

The figure was presented at the council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday (28 April).

The vast majority of council staff are women – 74 per cent.

Women take up most of the council jobs in catering (97 per cent) and cleaning (95 per cent) – which pay about £9 per hour.

They also carry out the vast majority of the clerical assistant, personal carers and classroom assistant roles – which earn about £10 per hour.

Women working as teachers earn an average hourly rate of £22.76 while men in the profession rake in £23.78. 

The figure comes despite women accounting for 79 per cent of all teachers working in the local authority.

The meeting heard the difference is due to all seven East Ayrshire secondary head teachers being male – which skewed the figures as they have a higher wage. 

Conservative councillor Tom Cook said: “The majority of teachers are female and there is a discrepancy between the salaries of men and women. Is there a barrier for female teachers progressing?”

Council head of education Linda McAulay-Griffiths pointed out all secondary heads are males.

Ms McAulay-Griffiths said: “It is the first time it has happened in a number of years. They get paid more.”

She said there is “no barrier to leadership” for female candidates and pointed out how most primary heads are women. 

Councillor Cook replied: “I am pleased there is no barrier.”

Council depute leader Councillor Elena Whitham, SNP, raised the issue of ensuring children at school are taught they have career choice options across sectors regardless of gender. 

The council employs 6279 people according to the statistics relating to 2019 to 2020. 

A council report said: “The 2019 to 2020 pay gap between men and women has increased in comparison to the previous audit across the council’s local government and teacher workforce, however, the gap decreased for chief officers by 0.68 per cent.”

It added: “In 2019/20, the pay gap between men and women was 12.77 per cent in favour of men compared to 8.16 per cent in favour of women in 2018/19.”

The council has an equal pay policy, which aims to ensure unfair, unjust or unlawful pay practices are eliminated. It pledges to take action to remedy any situation if they occur.

Objectives include making sure pay arrangements are free from bias.

People are entitled to equal pay for the same types of jobs regardless of gender under law.