The gender pay gap in the energy and utilities sector - EU Skills

The gender pay gap in the energy and utilities sector

The following analysis looks at the published data relating to the extent of the gender pay gap within the energy and utilities sector.

gender equality pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average hourly earnings for men and women.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), across the whole of the UK economy, men earned 15.4% more than women – although still significant, it represents a substantial fall from the gap of 18.4% in 2017.

In 2021, the size of the gender pay gap varied considerably across the different energy and utility industries:

  • Power – 19% (down from 22% in 2017)
  • Gas networks – 17% (down slightly from 18% in 2017)
  • Water – 9% % (down slightly from 10% in 2017)
  • Waste & recycling – 5% % (up slightly from 4% in 2017)

A significant driver of these gender pay gaps is the proportion of the workforce in the upper quartile pay band (i.e. the top 25% of earners in each industry). In 2021, women made up only a small proportion of upper quartile earnings in each of our industries

  • Power – 21% (up from 18% in 2017)
  • Gas networks – 26% (unchanged from 2017)
  • Water – 24% (down from 26% in 2017)
  • Waste & recycling – 17% (up from 16% in 2017)

So, how do employers in the energy and utility sector address their own gender pay gaps?  A report by the Government Equalities Office highlights six effective actions that could have a positive effect:

  1. Include multiple women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions
  2. Use skill-based assessment tasks in recruitment
  3. Use structured interviews for recruitment and promotions
  4. Encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges
  5. Introduce transparency to promotion, pay and reward processes
  6. Appoint diversity managers and/or diversity task forces

In order to help employers in our sector address this and other diversity issues, The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership established the Sector Inclusion Commitment

There are now 53 signatories tackling the challenge we face together, recognising that no one company can do this alone if things are to change.

If you’re an employer and keen to learn more about the sector’s inclusion commitment and get involved, please contact