WOKINGHAM’S largest organisations are being urged to tackle their gender pay gaps after the latest figures were released.

Oracle Corporation, a software company based in Earley which employs 2,000 people, has a gender pay gap of 17.2 per cent – higher than the private sector national average of 9.6 per cent.

This comes after the News recently revealed Wokingham Borough Council’s gender pay gap is more than 13 per cent, a figure almost 7 per cent higher than local authority average.

Wokingham's second biggest employer, Intersurgical, a manufacturer and supplier of medical devices, has a gender pay gap of 15.2 per cent.

Louise Timlin, data manager of the Reading branch of the Women’s Equality Party, said: “This is simply unacceptable that in 2019 women are still being paid so much less on average than men. I am challenging other candidates standing at the local elections to commit to action to close the pay gap within local businesses as well as Wokingham Council.”

Timlin, who is standing as a candidate in the Evendons ward in May’s borough council elections, added: “I would urge local businesses as well as the local council to work with their female employees and really understand the barriers that are preventing women from progressing to more senior roles.

“Only by addressing this and putting proactive measures in place will these organisations be able to address their gender pay gap.

The pay difference means women working at Oracle would earn 82 pence for every £1 a male employee makes.

Oracle published a report explaining its 2018 gender pay gap results, acknowledging its need to “make progress.”

The gender pay gap measures the difference between men and women’s average earnings across an organisation, and Oracle attributed its high difference to the issue of “gender imbalance” in the hi-tech industry.

Their report read: “Most higher-paid jobs are filled by science, technology, engineering and maths graduates and Oracle’s 25-30% female workforce is typical of the historic gender mix of these professional groups and graduate programs. This means there is a larger proportion of men in the higher paid jobs, which contributes significantly to the overall pay gap.

“Oracle remains committed to reducing its gender pay gap by keeping diversity and inclusion at its core.”

The demographics of Wokingham Borough Council’s workforce are reversed for part-time roles, as almost 400 part-time employees are women and just 52 are women.

According to the Women’s Equality Party, a workforce structured like this “hinders wage progression”.

After the News reported Wokingham Borough Council’s gender pay gap last month and in response, councillor Anthony Pollock, the executive member for finance, HR and corporate resources, said in March: “Our flexible working policies and opportunities for part-time working, particularly in lower pay quartile roles, make us an attractive employer to primary carers who in the main continue to be women. This won’t change unless there is a shift in society with more men taking on this type of role.

“Our Equality Action Plan, which is reviewed annually, makes sure our workplace is discrimination free for everyone.”

At neighbouring authority Reading Borough Council, the gender pay gap is low at 2.99 per cent for 2019.