Our aim at Wessex Archaeology is to be a place where all our people can engage in a fulfilling career and thrive at work. To do this we will make a consistent effort to:

  • Attract as diverse a range of candidates as possible;
  • Create opportunities so that everyone can explore a career in a way that works for them;
  • Ensure that we have the right processes in place to make pay and progression fair for everyone.


Our Journey

A reduced gender diversity in some roles and grades has resulted in a gender pay gap within the organisation, most notably with underrepresentation of women in the fieldwork team and in some management roles. We remain committed to analysing, understanding and making changes where possible.

In 2017 we recognised that an important factor in our pay gap is a disproportionate number of men in senior positions and we committed to break down barriers to promotion and develop all staff. Our objectives were to:

  • Implement recruitment strategies focussing on flexible and agile working to promote diversity and equality and to ensure that the widest possible pool of candidates is encouraged to apply for available roles;
  • Deliver appropriate learning and development to all staff, creating a pipeline of suitable and experienced candidates for consideration for more senior roles.

The gender profile of the company shows women are present in all the major business streams of the company:

Gender Pay reporting - women by department

Across all grades in the company there are both positive and negative messages about our gender profile.

In the business support function, including finance, HR, business and logistical support, women make up the biggest cohort at all grades.

In the fieldwork team there is significantly lower representation of women than men at supervisor grade than at other grades. However, the number and variety of business streams across the company where women are present at supervisor level is double that of men. This may indicate that women are exhibiting more flexibility and willingness to seek opportunities to influence and progress within the wider heritage market.

Gender Pay reporting - team diversity

The diversity in business streams continues in all grades up to officer grade, where appointment and promotion of women has been greater than that of men since 2017.

In the upper management tiers of the business (senior officer to executive management) there is a noticeable drop off in the total number of women (excepting the Research team). However, the Directors influencing and leading the Geoservices, Research and Heritage teams are women, and the female Chief Operating Officer, who coordinates the operational function of the company, has responsibility for 71% of all staff at executive management level. In 2018 our overall recruitment and appointment numbers represented equality for men and women.



We have 38 active volunteers of whom 28 are female. Anecdotally this is a variation from the sector norm where heritage organisations can normally expect a male volunteer base in active or interpretation roles.


Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM)

STEM is a nationwide initiative to engage young people with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEM Ambassadors are embedded in organisations across the country to, in addition to their day jobs, use their organisation’s assets and expertise to deliver STEM learning outcomes and encourage STEM careers. At Wessex Archaeology we have five STEM ambassadors, all women, who use archaeology as a stimulus to deliver science learning outcomes. We attend STEM festivals across the country (6 scheduled in 2019) and promote women in science at STEM careers fairs.

We recognise that this is a smart investment, as good gender diversity is known to positively impact on business in areas such as staff turnover, company reputation, increase in engagement and performance, widening the talent pool (diversity in skill and knowledge), and in creating an inclusive and better workplace.


Our progress 

  • We are more robust in our collection and analysis of information. We seek evidence from multiple sources rather than relying on one and/or anecdotal evidence only. We examine and test the headline data, recruitment and retention figures, diversity data, promotion and performance figures to enable us to have a clear and unbiased picture based on trusted information.
  • We have tightened our recruitment and development practices to be more explicit in our company values and vision.
  • We have created criteria against which we have assessed and reported on the fieldwork team, to be able to implement fair and transparent changes.
  • We are promoting workplace initiatives to support women in the workplace to overcome barriers in their careers. We actively encourage debate, conversation and support from all levels. One example is our recently established women only Workplace by Facebook group.
  • Our flexible working policy has encouraged new and returning mothers to explore flexible working in diverse work streams, including field-based roles and at all grades. We will continue to support and encourage female employees to return to work in tandem with encouraging our male employees to take advantage of the shared parental leave policy.

Our aim is to manage, treat, and develop people from all backgrounds fairly and transparently, encouraging open dialogue and a culture of trust to create a truly inclusive organisation.

Chris Brayne – Chief Executive