Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) gender pay gap continues to outperform its local authority neighbours and the national average.

The council has a gender pay gap of 2.99 per cent, a small increase on last year but well below the national average and neighbouring authorities Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) and Wokingham Borough Council (WBC).

This means there is a difference of around three per cent between men’s and women’s average earnings at the authority.

The council’s gender pay gap increased from 2.21 in 2017, but the council’s lead member for Corporate and Consumer Services said there will always be small year on year variations due to staff turnover.

Councillor Jason Brock, speaking at the council’s Personnel Committee, said: “This is an organisation that clearly works for women in the world of work.

“We should be an exemplar model for others in Reading to follow.”

The council’s mean gender pay gap is 2.99 per cent, while its median gender pay gap is 4.99 per cent, compared to a national average figure of 17.9 per cent.

Around two-thirds of the council’s workforce were women, as of March 2018.

BFC reported a gender pay gap of 16.2, while WBC’s gap was 13.88 per cent.

The figures are a ‘snapshot’ from March 31, 2018 and all local authorities must carry out calculations and publish results within a year.

All employers with a headcount of 250 or more employees must comply with the gender pay gap regulations on a snapshot date.

For local councils authorities the date is March 31 each year.

Speaking on International Women’s Day, earlier this month, Cllr Brock said: “The council’s real success in this area reflects our ongoing aspiration to be a fair and inclusive employer which treats all members of staff equally.

“We are not resting on our laurels though. Nearly two in every three staff members are women and there are more women than men at every level, yet over half of women are in the lower and lower middle pay quartiles.

“That shows there remains work to be done before we can truly claim to have fully addressed this issue.”