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University of Sussex reports latest pay gaps

The University of Sussex has today (25 March 2020) filed its annual gender pay gap data with the UK Government Equalities Office, and published data on ethnicity and disability pay gaps at Sussex.

The University’s mean gender pay gap remains unchanged, at 22.5%. The median gender pay gap shows a slight increase to 18.6%, and is just above the national median gender pay gap, published in October 2019 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), of 17.3%.

Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: “We continue to focus on identifying what we can do to reduce our gender pay gap and implementing these actions. It’s important that we find ways to do everything within our control to make these important changes.”

The key driver for the gender pay gap at Sussex is the gender demographic of the University’s employees. Overall, the workforce has more female than male staff and more academic staff than professional services staff. However, 65% of male employees are academics, compared to 42% of women. This is reflected in the pay quartile distribution.

A detailed Gender Equality Action Plan outlines the University’s commitments to improving gender equality and includes specific actions, such as:

  • The development of guidance on starting salaries to ensure there is no unconscious gender bias in these decisions, and the removal of current salaries from job application forms
  • A requirement for recruitment agencies to aim for at least 50% of females on the longlist for senior roles (and to be able to justify where this cannot be achieved).

The University is keen to increase transparency in pay gaps relating to other protected characteristics and for the first time this year is sharing data on ethnicity and disability pay gaps.

The ethnicity pay gap shows the difference in the average hourly rate of pay between Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and non-BAME staff, expressed as a percentage of average non-BAME earnings. This is calculated using the same calculation methodology as for gender pay gap reporting.

The overall median pay gap is slightly in favour of BAME staff, at -3.0%, which reflects lower numbers of BAME staff in professional services (8% BAME) compared to academic roles (19% BAME).

Jackie Rymell, Head of the EDI Unit, said: “When we calculate pay gaps for academic and professional services staff, both show a pay gap in favour of white staff. 

“We know there is work to do in terms of increasing the representation of BAME staff across the University, and enabling BAME staff to progress to senior positions at Sussex.”

The University’s Race Equality Charter self-assessment team will undertake further work on this, and will look in more detail at the pay gaps in relation to different ethnic groups.

For disability, Sussex has a median pay gap of 13.7%; again, the driver for this is the University’s workforce demographic, as 7% of staff in the bottom pay quartile have declared a disability, compared with 3% in the top quartile. The overall representation of disabled staff at Sussex is 4%.

Jackie said: “We are working to improve our data collection and monitoring across all protected characteristics to better understand the composition of our workforce, which will help us to invest in appropriate support for particular groups and address issues of under-representation.”

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Wednesday, 25 March 2020