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Gender imbalance statistics clarified

As seen in the latest Heritage Update from sector policy umbrella the Heritage Alliance, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that female conservation professionals were paid 24.0% less than men in 2016.

The research is based on Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes. 

However, there is no SOC code for heritage conservators or conservation professionals, and instead heritage sector conservators are bundled in with curators and archivists.

Owing to this, Alison Richmond, Icon Chief Executive, investigated to determine the origin of the data used. 

It emerged that the SOC code used to generate the figures was Code 2141 - the code referring to Conservation Professionals with core duties to ‘promote and implement local and national biodiversity action plans, particularly with regard to threatened species and habitats’. The 'conservation professionals' referred to are thus environmental sustainability professionals, not those in the heritage sector.

Icon has liaised with the Heritage Alliance in a bid to clarify the discrepancy.  The ONS has now appointed the Heritage Alliance as a consultee for the next set of revisions to the category, and Icon will be working with the Heritage Alliance to clarify the confusing terminology used in the research.

As for the true picture, Icon's own Conservation Labour Market Intelligence 2012-13 (Aitchison, 2013) did not address this point, since salaries were not differentiated by gender. 

This issue will be the subject of further study when Icon launches the next Labour Market Intelligence Research Project.

Lead Image: Public Domain


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