Black academic staff face double whammy in promotion and pay stakes

14 October 2019 | last updated: 18 October 2019

Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff in universities are less likely to hold senior jobs and are paid less than their white colleagues, according to UCU analysis

The union's analysis of the 2017/18 Higher Education Statistics Agency staff record shows that, overall, BME staff suffer a pay gap of 9% compared to white academic staff. Staff from a black background suffer the greatest pay gap (14%), compared to their white colleagues.

The union's analysis found that BME staff were underrepresented in the top roles. One in nine white academic staff (11%) are professors, compared to just one in 33 (3%) black academic staff. One in 15 (7%) of Asian academic staff are professors. Overall, 84% of academic staff are white, but 93% of professors are white, as are 91% of academic-related managers.

Key findings:

  • one in nine white academic staff are professors, compared to one in 33 black academic staff
  • overall pay gap of 9% between white and BME staff
  • black academic staff are paid 14% less than white academic staff
  • Asian academic staff have a smaller pay gap (9%) compared to white academic staff than black academic staff (14%)
  • BME staff are underrepresented in senior positions and overrepresented in more junior roles.

The analysis comes as UCU members are being balloted for strike action over pay and conditions. The union said it was an outrage that it had to threaten strike action to get universities to address their failings when it came to equality.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'These figures lift the lid on the extent of the race pay gaps in universities and the lack of representation of BME staff at the top level. It is quite shocking that we are having to ballot our members to get universities to start seriously addressing the issue of unequal pay and progression in higher education.

'If you are a black academic then there is just a one in 33 chance you'll be a professor, compared to one in nine for your white peers. It is going to take systematic change and some difficult conversations if we are going to make any headway. Universities need to work with us to address the issue and recognise that they will need to transform their practices to implement real change for BME staff.'


Table 1a: Representation by ethnicity

 

White

Black

Asian

Other

Overall- all staff

86%

3%

8%

3%

All academic staff

84%

2%

10%

4%

Professors

93%

2%

4%

2%

Senior academics

88%

1%

8%

3%

Mid-career academics

85%

2%

9%

4%

Early career academics

81%

2%

12%

5%

Academic-related managers

91%

2%

5%

2%

Academic-related professionals

88%

3%

6%

3%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 1b: Representation by detailed ethnicity

 

Black or Black British - Caribbean

Black or Black British - African

Other Black background

Asian or Asian British - Indian

Asian or Asian British - Pakistani

Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi

Chinese

Other Asian background

Other (including mixed)

White

Overall- all staff

0.9%

1.4%

0.2%

2.7%

0.8%

0.4%

2.3%

1.6%

3.4%

86.3%

All academic staff

0.4%

1.3%

0.2%

2.9%

0.8%

0.3%

3.6%

2.1%

4.2%

84.1%

Professors

0.2%

0.4%

0.1%

2.3%

0.4%

0.2%

2.6%

1.1%

2.8%

90.0%

Senior academics

0.3%

0.7%

0.1%

2.6%

0.6%

0.2%

2.8%

1.5%

3.3%

87.9%

Mid-career
academics

0.6%

1.4%

0.2%

2.6%

0.8%

0.3%

3.1%

2.0%

4.0%

85.0%

Early career
academics

0.5%

1.6%

0.2%

3.3%

0.9%

0.4%

4.6%

2.7%

5.1%

80.6%

Academic-related
managers

0.9%

0.8%

0.1%

2.7%

0.6%

0.2%

1.0%

0.7%

2.1%

90.9%

Academic-related
professionals

1.2%

1.2%

0.2%

2.8%

0.8%

0.5%

1.3%

0.9%

2.7%

88.4%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 1c: Percentage of academic staff that are professors by ethnicity

White

Black

Asian

Other

11%

3%

7%

7%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 1d Percentage of academic staff that are professors by detailed ethnicity

Black or
Black British
- Caribbean

Black or
Black British
- African

Other Black
background

Asian or
Asian British
- Indian

Asian or
Asian British
- Pakistani

Asian or
Asian British
- Bangladeshi

Chinese

Other Asian
background

Other
(inc mixed)

White
 

3.4%

3.4%

3.0%

8.0%

5.0%

4.6%

7.0%

5.3%

6.6%

10.6%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2a: Average salary by ethnicity

 

White

Black

Asian

Other

BAME

Overall- all staff

£39,630

£32,875

£39,135

£38,485

£37,825

All academic staff

£49,065

£42,065

£44,890

£44,590

£44,470

Professors

£82,665

£76,610

£83,170

£81,190

£82,195

Senior academics

£59,095

£57,335

£60,805

£59,075

£60,010

Mid-career academics

£47,185

£46,210

£47,100

£46,680

£46,860

Early career academics

£36,365

£35,515

£35,555

£35,605

£35,565

Academic-related managers

£49,395

£48,045

£49,020

£48,600

£48,730

Academic-related professionals

£34,195

£34,545

£34,550

£34,160

£34,460

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2b: Pay gap relative to white staff

 

Black

Asian

Other

BAME

 

Overall- all staff

17%

1%

3%

5%

 

All academic staff

14%

9%

9%

9%

 

Professors

7%

-1%

2%

1%

 

Senior academics

3%

-3%

0%

-2%

 

Mid-career academics

2%

0%

1%

1%

 

Early career academics

2%

2%

2%

2%

 

Academic-related managers

3%

1%

2%

1%

 

Academic-related professionals

-1%

-1%

0%

-1%

 

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2c: Detailed pay gap relative to white staff

 

Average salary

Pay gap relative to White staff

Black or Black British - Caribbean

£32,650

21%

Black or Black British - African

£33,005

20%

Other Black background

£32,935

20%

Asian or Asian British - Indian

£39,590

0%

Asian or Asian British - Pakistani

£36,000

10%

Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi

£34,410

15%

Chinese

£41,230

-4%

Other Asian background

£38,130

4%

Other (including mixed)

£38,485

3%

White

£39,630

 

HESA staff record 2017/18

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