UCU response to HESA research on how career satisfaction among graduates varies by ethnicity

22 September 2020

Responding to the 'Higher education outcomes: How career satisfaction among graduates varies by ethnicity' report by HESA, UCU said it showed the effects of structural racism on black graduates' careers. The union said universities must address their own employment practices if they are serious about becoming inclusive workplaces and pointed to research that shows only 140 professional academic staff in the UK identify as black and a 26% race pay gap at Russell Group universities.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'This report's troubling findings are yet another illustration of how structural racism entrenches inequality throughout black people's lives. With black graduates up to 9% less likely to be satisfied with their careers than their white peers, further research is urgently needed to identify and address the systemic issues which underpin this damaging divide.

'Universities have been quick to claim their anti-racist credentials in recent months, but they themselves are part of the problem. The race pay gap at Russell Group universities is a staggering 26% and we still have only 140 black professors employed at UK universities. UCU is ready to work with universities to tackle racism but we need real action, not just warm words, if institutions are to become truly inclusive and equitable.

'The report also lays bare the shortcomings of graduate employment data as a proxy indicator about the quality of higher education. Many different factors, including ethnicity and socio-economic background, have a significant and lasting impact on education and employment outcomes.'

Last updated: 22 September 2020