It pays for women to work in post-92s

May 11, 2007

Female academics at new universities get a fairer pay deal than those in old ones, writes Rebecca Attwood

Female academics working at new universities get a fairer deal on pay than their Russell Group counterparts, latest figures suggest.

Of the 30 universities with the narrowest pay gaps between men and women, are post-92 institutions, salary data for 2005-06 from the University and College Union show.

The data also reveal that the average female academic in a Campaigning for Modern Universities institution earned £1,368 more than her Russell Group counterpart.

The gender pay gap at Russell Group universities averaged 18.6 per cent in comparison to 6.2 per cent at CMU institutions. Female academics at CMU institutions earned an average salary of £36,230. Those at Russell Group universities earned £34,862.

Judith Elkin, pro vice-chancellor and deputy chief executive at Worcester University, where the gender pay gap of 2.3 per cent is one of the smallest, said: "Newer universities traditionally have had a much more open recruitment policy and have given opportunities to women to progress on a range of fronts."

Clive Bane, head of human resources at University of the Arts London, the only institution with a gender pay gap in favour of women, said the university had worked hard to encourage female staff to progress in all areas, especially to senior roles.

He said: "The university is committed to recruiting, retaining and rewarding high-quality staff and supporting them in their personal and career development."

The gender pay gap at all universities overall has shrunk from 15.6 per cent in 1999-2000 to 14.1 per cent in 2005-06. Nicola Dandridge, chief executive officer of the Equality Challenge Unit, said: "Although it is good news that the pay gap between men and women in higher education is narrowing, it is narrowing at an unacceptably slow rate."

Michael Driscoll, vice-chancellor of Middlesex University and chair of CMU, said there was a need to review the impact of higher education funding, particularly research income, on equality across the sector.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said the group was committed to closing the pay gap.

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