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University gender pay gap falls slightly, but not enough is being done says UCU

10 May 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today welcomed a slight fall in the gender pay gap in UK higher education, but warned much more must be done to ensure equal pay for equal work achieved across the sector.

Analysis of statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) by UCU reveals that there has been a small steady decline in the gap between full-time average pay for female and male UK academic staff over the past six years.

Average pay for females was around 15% behind that of their male colleagues over the decade from 1996 to 2006, but there has been a relatively steady decline from 15.6% in 1999-2000 to a UK average of 14.1% in 2005-06.

In 2005-6 England had the smallest gap in the UK of 13.8% and Wales the highest at 16.6%. Northern Ireland had a pay gap of 14.7% and Scotland 15.2%.

The new data details the gender pay gap by UK institution and can be found here. [234kb]

The union remains unconvinced by universities' attempts to get the bottom of the problem regarding gender pay. UCU is carrying out a survey to find out if equal pay audits have been carried out following the introduction of new pay and grading structures.

Addressing equality and equal pay issues were specifically mentioned in the £890m rewarding and developing staff funding that English HE institutions have received since 2001-02.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU welcomes the news that the gender pay gap is finally starting to narrow overall. However, discrepancies remain. We are still to see the full impact of the pay Framework Agreement thrashed out in 2004, which stipulated that equal pay for equal work must be implemented.

'Despite a narrowing gap, we cannot escape the fact that women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts. If the pay gap continues to narrow at the current rate some female staff in our universities will never achieve parity with male colleagues. Universities need to act now to ensure it is not just the children or grandchildren of current staff that benefit from hard fought battles over pay equality.'

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