Women continue to earn less than men

September 29, 2006

The gender pay gap persists in higher education, with female staff earning significantly less than their male colleagues across all five academic grades in 2004-05, writes Matt Sandy.

Figures released to The Times Higher by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal that there are still large discrepancies in salaries, with some institutions reporting that they pay women more than 10 per cent less than men.

Commenting on the figures, Sally Hunt, the joint general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "The continuing gender pay gap at both the bottom and the top shows how much work there is still to do.

"What both male and female staff need is transparent pay and promotion structures that provide equality of opportunity for all rather than indirectly play one sex off against the other."

According to the figures, female professors earned £56,105 on average in 2004-05 compared with £59,705 for their male counterparts, a discrepancy of 6.3 per cent. Female senior lecturers and researchers, meanwhile, were paid 5.5 per cent less - £40,562 compared with £42,333.

Women at lecturer level earned £32,577 compared with £33,396 for male colleagues on the same grade. Finally, male researchers earned 5.5 per cent more than their female counterparts (£26,623 compared with Pounds 25,155).

The statistics reveal extreme variations in the gender pay gap across the sector. At Greenwich University, female researchers earned 20.41 per cent less than their male counterparts in 2004-05.

Greenwich argued that its figures were distorted because of the takeover of the Natural Resources Institute in 1996. The former Civil Service body is male dominated and has higher pay because of the "high-level advisory consultancy work they are engaged in", a spokesman said.

The gender pay gap for researchers was also particularly wide at Glamorgan, Nottingham Trent and Wolverhampton universities.

A small number of institutions pay women more than their male counterparts.

At Derby, female professors earned on average 22.94 per cent more than men with the equivalent rank in 2004-05.

An official said this was because a far higher proportion of female professors held senior positions in the university, including deans of faculty, assistant deans and a deputy vice-chancellor.

"Naturally they received some of the highest salaries in the institution,"

the spokesman said. "But overall there were fewer female professors. This distorted the female average salary in comparison with the group of male professors surveyed."

Other institutions where female professors earn more than male colleagues were Bath, Bradford and Sheffield Hallam universities.

A spokesman for the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association said:

"Any gender pay gap in higher education needs to be taken seriously.

However, it is important to remember that these figures do not necessarily point to women being paid much less for doing the same jobs as men.

"It is more likely to reflect structural differences, such as the number of women in higher paid posts and their subject choices. The gender pay gap among higher education teaching staff is far smaller than in the economy as a whole. But this is no excuse for complacency."

Link to table in Statistics section:
      Staff salary comparisons 2005

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