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Gender pay gap almost 20% at UEA

Women at UEA are paid nearly 20 percent less than men, a statistic the university has admitted it is disappointed with.

A report published in a national government mandated audit revealed women are paid 18.93 percent less than men as a mean overall gender pay gap. This works out to a rate of £14.86 per hour for women, compared to £18.33 per hour for men.

A median gender pay gap of 30.15 percent was found, 11.75 percent higher than the national average of 18.4 percent. According to calculations made by The Guardian, this pay gap of 30.15 percent means UEA effectively stops paying women by 12 September in a calendar year.

In terms of bonuses, year on year women receive a mean bonus of £2,308, compared to £7,986 for men. However, men and women are likely to receive bonuses at a similar rate of about two percent.

The university stressed it is “confident that men and women are paid equally for doing equivalent jobs across the University”. They claimed the gender pay gap has more complex origins. UEA’s own analysis suggested differences are largely because lower paid roles are typically occupied by women.

The university said their high rate of student employment (who are paid less and are mostly female) affects the final results. According to Sarah Barrow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality and Diversity at UEA, a more representative way of judging whether the University is meeting its equality obligations is to compare on a job by job basis.

“We are confident and can demonstrate that men and women receive equivalent pay where they undertake the same or similar roles,” she said, adding: “Our equal pay audit is conducted every two years and we carry out robust job evaluation methodologies to ensure people are paid according to the levels of responsibility within their roles.”

“This first gender pay gap report highlights that we have much more work to do in certain areas […] However, the gender pay gap does not mean staff are not paid equally for doing the same job.”

A large factor driving the differences in pay and bonuses is that more men tend to work in higher, administrative positions at UEA. Concrete’s analysis of the report found, despite the fact UEA employs over 900 more women than men, 60 percent of all male staff are working within the top two bands of pay. This is compared to only 43.1 percent of women.

A spokesperson for UEA told Concrete the gap was “something we seek to address.”

They said: “The reasons for the pay gap are not just complex they are also profoundly rooted in societal attitudes which we are contributing to changing, for example, through our extensive commitment equality in recruitment at all levels and to Athena SWAN, and that these will take time to shift.”

UEA’s Feminist Society criticised the university for doing less to put women in top positions.

A representative said: “Pay gaps are a symptom of systemic inequality and the university must look closer into the phenomenon in order to remedy it.

“It’s not as simple as consciously paying women less, but rather a complex sociological occurrence that has caused widespread pay gaps.

“To understand fully what they are establishing, universities should research their own cultural attitudes towards recruitment, progression and leadership.”

The Equality Officer for UEA’s UCU branch, Susan Sayce, suggested the university should investigate “the area of admin to examine whether gender bias is being reinforced through organisational culture and values.”

“If there is a limited pipeline of women coming through to senior roles they examine underlying reasons for this, different departments may have different histories of supporting women to progress,” Ms Sayce said.

She suggested mentoring was one solution.

SU Welfare Community and Diversity Officer, India Edwards, said it seemed like the university had made “excuses” about gender and pay.

“These reflect problematic assumptions about what “counts” as men’s work and women’s work, and the long-term problem in supporting women into leadership roles,” she added.


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January 2022
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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