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Staff inequalities

As with student data, there are often gaps in monitoring information for certain staff groups. This limits the institution’s understanding of the equality challenges for these staff and the ability to take action. As with students, there is no robust national level data on the other protected characteristics to provide appropriate benchmarks.

BME people at senior levels

Proportionally, UK white academics hold far more professorial roles than UK black academics. Additionally, among UK professional and support staff, a smaller proportion of BME staff hold manager, director and senior official positions than white staff.

The under-representation of ethnic minority staff in senior roles suggests that there are barriers to their career progression within HEIs.

Disabled people at senior levels

A lower proportion of professors disclosed a disability (2.7%) than non-professorial academic staff (3.8%). A smaller proportion of disabled academics were employed on senior academic contracts than academics without a disclosed disability.

People with impairments can face barriers, which may be physical, procedural or social, to employment and career progression in HEIs.  Providing support and adjustments can remove these barriers and support the development of an inclusive environment.

Women at senior levels

79.5% of Heads of Institutions and over three quarters of professorships are held by males, resulting in 77.6 % of all professorial (5A level) posts being occupied by male employees . Additionally, the proportion of male staff on a senior contract level was nearly three times higher than for female staff.

The under-representation of women at senior levels within institutions suggests that insufficient action is being taken to support the progression of women within HEIs. 

Gender pay gap

Median salaries for HEI staff were higher for men than women; the median gap in earnings was 14.6% across the UK.

The median gender pay gap varied across the different nations, being highest in Scotland (20.2 %) and lowest in England (13.7 %). The gap was higher amongst academic staff than professional and support staff. 

Assessing specific EDI issues for staff

Does the governing body regularly review the EDI of its staffing base?

  • What proportion of professors, senior academic roles and manager/director/senior official posts are held by BME staff? How does this compare to the local and student demographics?
  • What proportion of professors are women? What proportion of senior contracts are held by women? What action is being taken to support the career progression of women?
  • What proportion of professors and academics on senior contracts have disclosed a disability? What is the disability disclosure rate among staff? What action has been taken to support disabled staff?
  • Is there a gender pay gap? If so, for which employment grades are there the largest gaps? What are the reasons?
  • Is data on all protected characteristics collected? What are the disclosure rates for each characteristic? What action is the institution taking, or could take to understand equality barriers for these staff?

Find out more about EDI challenges in higher education

EDI challenges