Several universities have been "named and shamed" by the University and College Union for having the largest gender pay gaps in higher education
The University of Leicester has the biggest pay gap for academic staff for any UK university, once small and specialist institutions are excluded, with women earning £9,793 less than men on average, according to the UCU report, titled Holding Down Women’s Pay, published on 8 January, to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Overall, the gender pay gap among academic staff in higher education was £6,103, says the analysis of pay data for the 2013-14 academic year.
In a statement, Leicester said that it “aims to ensure that staff are treated solely on the basis of their merits and abilities” and had recently extended its Athena SWAN scheme for improving employment conditions for women to all university departments.
Pay differences had arisen owing to “changes in responsibility, promotion, length of time in post, distinctions, productivity and other non-discriminatory factors”, it added.
A recent analysis by Leicester showed the average salaries for full-time female staff are “not significantly different” to those paid to men, with difference reflecting “annual progression through the salary scale from time of recruitment or promotion”.
The institution with the largest gender pay gap for professors was City University London where female professors earned an average £15,992 less than their male colleagues – a pay gap of 16.4 per cent, the UCU report says.
A similar analysis conducted by Times Higher Education in April 2015 on 2013-14 data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency also found City to have one of the highest gender pay gaps in the sector, with an 18.4 per cent difference between academic staff – a difference of £12,222.
At the time, City said that it had introduced a new scheme to “make it easier to identify and control any gender anomalies in pay at professorial level” and a further equal pay review would take place soon.
Commenting on the latest analysis, Sally Hunt, the UCU’s general secretary, said that universities “should not have allowed such shameful levels of pay inequality to persist”.
“It’s nearly 50 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force and they’re still flying in the face of it,” said Ms Hunt, who said she wanted sector leaders to make a “firm commitment” to close the gender pay gap and “make equal pay at every college and university a reality”.
The new report comes after unions and employers in higher education have been involved in a joint working group to address the issue of gender pay inequality.
In November, the group’s chair Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of the University of Northampton, said that the issue remained “at the top of institutional agendas” and “real progress” had been made tackling the gender pay gap.
A representative for the Universities and Colleges Employers Association said that it was “disappointing” that the UCU’s report did not reference its ongoing joint work in this area with unions as it demonstrated “the shared commitment” to tackle the issue.
The latest UCU analysis, based on figures used for its new online tool, Rate for the job, which allows members to make comparisons between pay rates at colleges and universities, also highlights the gender pay gaps for professional and support staff in higher education, and for teaching staff in further education.
A “combined gender pay ranking” has also been created using measures of the gender pay gap.
St George’s, University of London is the worst performer on this ranking. The south London medical school told THE last year that it “had made considerable progress in appointing more female professorial staff”, but these new appointees will “generally start at the lower end of the pay scale”, thereby leading to a greater disparity at professorial level.
UCU ranking of UK universities by gender pay gap for all academic staff
|Ranking||Institution||All academics female salary (£)||All academics male salary (£)||Pay gap - £ difference between male and female salary||Pay gap - Female salary as % of male salary|
|1||University of the Highlands and Islands||32,484||51,121||18,637||63.50%|
|2||University of London (Institutes and activities)||46,532||65,641||19,109||70.90%|
|3||The University of Wales (central functions)||39,237||54,398||15,161||72.10%|
|4||Royal Agricultural University||38,332||51,286||12,954||74.70%|
|5||The University of Leicester||36,085||45,878||9,793||78.70%|
|6||London School of Economics and Political Science||45,493||57,541||12,048||79.10%|
|7||Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine||42,201||53,317||11,116||79.20%|
|8||Courtauld Institute of Art||49,134||61,663||12,529||79.70%|
|9||The University of Buckingham||41,193||51,223||10,030||80.40%|
|10||Liverpool Hope University||39,577||49,136||9,559||80.50%|
|11||The University of Warwick||47,527||58,820||11,293||80.80%|
|12||The Institute of Cancer Research||39,361||48,568||9,207||81.00%|
|13||London Business School||153,525||188,692||35,167||81.40%|
|14||St George's Hospital Medical School||47,485||58,350||10,865||81.40%|
|15||The University of Cambridge||39,400||48,323||8,923||81.50%|
|16||The University of Aberdeen||43,823||53,737||9,914||81.60%|
|17||London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine||46,989||57,468||10,479||81.80%|
|18||King's College London||44,130||53,833||9,703||82.00%|
|20||The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts||34,009||41,354||7,345||82.20%|
|22||The University of Glasgow||43,094||52,338||9,244||82.30%|
|23||The University of York||43,515||52,705||9,190||82.60%|
|25||The University of Bath||40,692||49,177||8,485||82.70%|
|26||University of Nottingham||42,646||51,490||8,844||82.80%|
|28||The University of St Andrews||42,404||51,103||8,699||83.00%|
|30||The University of Exeter||41,820||50,181||8,361||83.30%|