Gender pay gap in universities ‘will not close for 40 years’, report warns

Gender pay gap in universities ‘will not close for 40 years’, report warns

Higher Education Statistics Agency figures also show a decline in the number of female professors being hired by many UK universities

The gender pay gap among academic staff will not be closed for 40 years at the current rate of progress, a new study warns.

The difference in pay between male and female academics in UK universities has only closed slightly from 12.6 per cent to 12 per cent in the past two years, said the University and College Union (UCU).

Publishing a new report into gender pay disparity, the group said significant pay gaps at the senior level coupled with under-representation of women in top posts pushed up the difference in wages in higher education.

As seniority and pay increases, the percentage of women falls, the union said, adding that fewer than one in four professors are female.

The Higher Education Statistics Agency figures also show a decline in the proportions of professorships held by women at many UK universities.

As many as one in three of the country’s institutions have moved “backwards” in terms of female recruitment over the past few years, separate analysis of the HESA figures obtained by Times Higher Education show.

While the total number of female professors in the UK grew by almost a quarter to 4,775 between the 2012-13 and 2015-16 academic years, more than a third of institutions with statistically significant numbers of professors saw the proportion who are women fall.

This is despite increasing numbers of top universities agreeing to encourage gender diversity by signing up to an Equality Challenge Unit charter scheme in the past few years.

Loughborough University was noted as having the most dramatic fall in numbers, with women making up just 14.2 per cent of professors at the institution in 2016 – down six percentage points from 20.2 per cent in 2013.

Female professors at the London School of Economics and Political Science dropped down to 20.4 per cent from 23 per cent, and Queen Mary, London, saw a 1.1 per cent fall over the same period of time.

On the other end of the scale, the University of Liverpool improved its gender representation by a 10.9 percentage point difference.

Despite the improvement, the female professors still only account for a quarter (27.4 per cent) of the total professor staff body.

Within the Russell Group universities, 13.3 per cent of male academics were earning top salaries of £56,000 and over, compared to just 8 per cent of female staff, UCU found.

Commenting on the findings, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “At this rate it will take 40 years to close the academic gender pay gap.

“The fact that women are under-represented in the higher management grades is contributing to the overall 12 per cent gender pay gap for academic staff.

“Universities need to analyse their gender pay gaps by carrying out equal pay audits. We are now submitting local equal pay audits at universities and want institutions to analyse and address their gender pay gaps.”

Original Source – Rachael Pells, The Independent –

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