Gender pay gap narrows in Higher Education Institutions

THE OFFICE for National Statistics published figures on 18th November that reveal that the gender pay gap in Higher Education has narrowed significantly over the past year.

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The figures show that women working full-time in Higher Education in April 2015 were paid 11.1% less than men – the pay gap in April 2014 was 13.5%, which shows that in a year the gap has decreased by 2.4 percentage points.

For all Higher Education employees, including part-time staff, there was a fall of 1.3 percentage points in the gender pay gap, to a gap of 14.7% – the wider economy gender pay gap is 19.2%. Higher Education teaching professionals saw the pay gap narrow only slightly from 9.3% to 9.1%.

Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of the University of Northampton, who has been active in talks on gender pay involving employers and trade unions, said the latest figures showed “real progress”:

“Major sector initiatives such as Athena SWAN and Aurora have kept women’s careers and the gender pay gap at the top of institutional agendas, and we hope that this continues to be the case in the years ahead.”

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association has been active in attempting to tackle the gender pay gap, and has worked closely with trade unions regarding surveys of equal pay auditing, a literature review on the gender pay gap, and an in depth investigation of action being taken by HEIs to tackle gaps with equal pay reviews.

Future work in this area will focus on developing a more sophisticated analysis of HEIs gender pay gap data, looking at pay gaps between job levels, and information on occupational segregation.