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Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations for the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD), reviews a week of higher education news in which concerns emerged over universities’ financial stability due to Covid-19 and the impact of the crisis on students.
A growing number of higher education conferences and events are being postponed or moved online in response to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Closing the higher education gender pay gap will take 40 years, a new report suggests.
The University and College Union study found that in 2015/16, UK universities had a 12 per cent overall gender pay gap for academic staff, compared to 12.3 per cent in 2014/15 and 12.6 per cent in 2013/14.
At the current “glacial” rate of progress, it will take decades to bring women’s pay up to the level of their male colleagues.
Compiled from 2015/16 Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data, the union says significant pay gaps at the top levels combine with the under-representation of women in senior posts.
The report shows that as seniority and salary increases, the percentage of women decreases. In 2015/16, universities used a 51 point pay scale which had proportionately more women than men up to point 43, but that reversed from point 44 onwards. At the highest points of 49-51, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of academic staff were men while just 37 per cent were women.
Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, said: ‘At this rate it will take 40 years to close the academic gender pay gap.
‘Universities need to analyse their gender pay gaps by carrying out equal pay audits. We are now submitting local equal pay audits at universities and want institutions to analyse and address their gender pay gaps.’
Some 62.6 per cent of academic staff at points 49-51 were male, while 37.4 per cent of academic staff at these points were female.
Within the Russell Group universities, 13.3 per cent of all male academics were on points 49-51, compared to 8 per cent of all female academics
At professor level, less than one quarter (23.9 per cent) of staff were women.
The overall gap for non-academic staff was 9.9 per cent, according to the report, but at senior management level, the gap was 14.1 per cent.
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