HE Gender Pay Gap

Created on: 14 Sep 2016 | Last modified: 22 Apr 2020

Gender Pay Report

The New JNCHES Pay Agreement for 2015-16 set out further joint work on investigating the gender pay gap in the HE Sector, and culminated in the joint report.

The executive summary is set out below for information.

Executive Summary

The findings in this report analyse the gender pay gap and balance within HE and compares them with other parts of the UK economy where data are available.

This report builds on previous New JNCHES work, which included a literature review on the factors affecting the gender pay gap and case studies on what higher education (HE) institutions are doing to tackle them (see chapter 7).

The interactive charts which accompany this report provide a more comprehensive view of the trends and the key findings are summarised below:

  • An analysis of basic salaries collected by HESA reveals that the gender pay gap for fulltime staff has narrowed for both academic and professional services staff groups (Figure 1).

    Between 2003/04 and 2014/15, the median gender pay gap for full-time academics narrowed from 10.3 per cent to 5.7 per cent, while the median gender pay gap for full-time professional services staff narrowed from 12 per cent to 5.7 per cent.

    A small uptick in the median, though not mean, academic data from 2013/14 to 2014/15 is noted and this points to the case for regular reporting of the data.
  • There are more significant pay gaps (outside ±5 per cent boundaries1 ) for full-time senior staff than full-time staff on the 51-point pay spine (Figure 4 and Figure 7).

    HESA data typically show that no significant median pay gaps appear where women made up at least 40 per cent of the full-time employee group.
  • There were no pay gaps within contract levels for part-time staff on the 51-point pay spine in 2014/15, except in four levels where pay gaps were in favour of women (Figure 5).

    Pay gaps for part-time senior staff were not analysed in this report because of data reliability issues but the figures have been included in the interactive charts.

    UCEA has taken forward the reliability issue and has secured HESA’s agreement to improve the reliability of salary data by implementing tighter validation rules in the staff record from 2015/16 (see chapter 6.4).
  • Unlike in the whole economy, pay gaps in the HE sector do not significantly vary by overtime pay or bonuses (Figure 9 and Figure 10), according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE).
  • The pay gap in the HE sector shows a downward trend, and has fallen more rapidly compared to the whole economy particularly in the last five years, according to the ONS (Figure 11).

    Looking at hourly earnings excluding overtime, the gender pay gap in HE narrowed from 18.9 per cent to 11.1 per cent. In comparison, the gender pay gap in the whole economy fell less rapidly, from 15.5 per cent to 9.6 per cent.

    The wider education sector, which covers all phases including HE, has seen a small increase in its gender pay gap over the same period, from 10.1 per cent in 2002 to 10.8 per cent in 2015.
  • In 2015, seven out of eight HE major occupations have gender pay gaps which are in line with or lower than ‘Not HE’ counterparts based on full-time hourly earnings excluding overtime.

    The exception is elementary occupations where the pay gap is 20 per cent in HE compared to 13.3 per cent for ‘Not HE’ comparators. Were any HE institution to find such a gap across their ‘elementary occupation’ grades it would naturally point to a need to understand the causes.
  • The Steering Group for this project recommends that the following time series sector benchmarks be updated annually so that HE institutions may compare their progress against the sector. These benchmarks will be published annually on the UCEA website and the data may be linked to the trade unions’ websites.

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