Black and minority ethnic (BME) staff in universities are less likely to hold senior jobs and are paid less than their white colleagues, according to new analysis released today (Tuesday) by the University and College Union (UCU)

The union’s analysis of the 2017/18 Higher Education Statistics Agency staff record shows that, overall, BME staff suffer a pay gap of 9% compared to white academic staff. Staff from a black background suffer the greatest pay gap (14%), compared to their white colleagues.

The union’s analysis found that BME staff were underrepresented in the top roles. One in nine white academic staff (11%) are professors, compared to just one in 33 (3%) black academic staff. One in 15 (7%) of Asian academic staff are professors. Overall, 84% of academic staff are white, but 93% of professors are white, as are 91% of academic-related managers.

Key findings:

  • One in nine white academic staff are professors, compared to one in 33 black academic staff
  • Overall pay gap of 9% between white and BME staff
  • Black academic staff are paid 14% less than white academic staff
  • Asian academic staff have a smaller pay gap (9%) compared to white academic staff than black academic staff (14%)
  • BME staff are underrepresented in senior positions and overrepresented in more junior roles

The analysis comes as UCU members are being balloted for strike action over pay and conditions. The union said it was an outrage that it had to threaten strike action to get universities to address their failings when it came to equality.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

"These figures lift the lid on the extent of the race pay gaps in universities and the lack of representation of BME staff at the top level. It is quite shocking that we are having to ballot our members to get universities to start seriously addressing the issue of unequal pay and progression in higher education.

"If you are a black academic then there is just a one in 33 chance you’ll be a professor, compared to one in nine for your white peers. It is going to take systematic change and some difficult conversations if we are going to make any headway. Universities need to work with us to address the issue and recognise that they will need to transform their practices to implement real change for BME staff."

Mareike Voget, Product Manager, ResearchGate – the leading scientific network and world’s largest research database – Scientific Recruitment Solutions, said:

“In order for universities to increase diversity within their workforce, they need a fresh approach to recruitment. While the private sector advertises vacancies widely, through the use of multiple digital solutions, academic institutions still largely rely on word-of-mouth and their own university job portals when hiring scientists and researchers.

“In doing so, they miss out on reaching a broad pool of talented candidates. In today’s digital world, higher education needs to modernise its recruitment strategy to match the private sector’s innovation in sourcing suitable job candidates.

“Academic institutions will only benefit from using a suite of digital solutions to attract, source and recruit applicants for scientific research jobs across audiences, which will help address academia’s current equity, inclusion, and diversity issues”.

Table 1a Representation by ethnicity

  White Black Asian Other
Overall- all staff 86% 3% 8% 3%
All academic staff 84% 2% 10% 4%
Professors 93% 2% 4% 2%
Senior academics 88% 1% 8% 3%
Mid-career academics 85% 2% 9% 4%
Early career academics 81% 2% 12% 5%
Academic-related managers 91% 2% 5% 2%
Academic-related professionals 88% 3% 6% 3%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 1b Representation by detailed ethnicity

  Black or Black British - Caribbean Black or Black British - African Other Black background Asian or Asian British - Indian Asian or Asian British - Pakistani Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi Chinese Other Asian background Other (including mixed) White
Overall- all staff 0.9% 1.4% 0.2% 2.7% 0.8% 0.4% 2.3% 1.6% 3.4% 86.3%
All academic staff 0.4% 1.3% 0.2% 2.9% 0.8% 0.3% 3.6% 2.1% 4.2% 84.1%
Professors 0.2% 0.4% 0.1% 2.3% 0.4% 0.2% 2.6% 1.1% 2.8% 90.0%
Senior academics 0.3% 0.7% 0.1% 2.6% 0.6% 0.2% 2.8% 1.5% 3.3% 87.9%
Mid-career academics 0.6% 1.4% 0.2% 2.6% 0.8% 0.3% 3.1% 2.0% 4.0% 85.0%
Early career academics 0.5% 1.6% 0.2% 3.3% 0.9% 0.4% 4.6% 2.7% 5.1% 80.6%
Academic-related managers 0.9% 0.8% 0.1% 2.7% 0.6% 0.2% 1.0% 0.7% 2.1% 90.9%
Academic-related professionals 1.2% 1.2% 0.2% 2.8% 0.8% 0.5% 1.3% 0.9% 2.7% 88.4%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 1c Percentage of academic staff that are professors by ethnicity

White

Black

Asian

Other

11%

3%

7%

7%

HESA staff record 2017/18

 

Table 1d Percentage of academic staff that are professors by detailed ethnicity

Black or Black British - Caribbean

Black or Black British - African

Other Black background

Asian or Asian British - Indian

Asian or Asian British - Pakistani

Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi

Chinese

Other Asian background

Other (inc mixed)

White

3.4%

3.4%

3.0%

8.0%

5.0%

4.6%

7.0%

5.3%

6.6%

10.6%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2a average salary by ethnicity

 

White

Black

Asian

Other

BAME

Overall- all staff

£39,630

£32,875

£39,135

£38,485

£37,825

All academic staff

£49,065

£42,065

£44,890

£44,590

£44,470

Professors

£82,665

£76,610

£83,170

£81,190

£82,195

Senior academics

£59,095

£57,335

£60,805

£59,075

£60,010

Mid-career academics

£47,185

£46,210

£47,100

£46,680

£46,860

Early career academics

£36,365

£35,515

£35,555

£35,605

£35,565

Academic-related managers

£49,395

£48,045

£49,020

£48,600

£48,730

Academic-related professionals

£34,195

£34,545

£34,550

£34,160

£34,460

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2b pay gap relative to white staff

 

Black

Asian

Other

BAME

Overall- all staff

17%

1%

3%

5%

All academic staff

14%

9%

9%

9%

Professors

7%

-1%

2%

1%

Senior academics

3%

-3%

0%

-2%

Mid-career academics

2%

0%

1%

1%

Early career academics

2%

2%

2%

2%

Academic-related managers

3%

1%

2%

1%

Academic-related professionals

-1%

-1%

0%

-1%

HESA staff record 2017/18

Table 2c detailed pay gap relative to white staff

 

Average salary

Pay gap relative to White staff

Black or Black British - Caribbean

£32,650

21%

Black or Black British - African

£33,005

20%

Other Black background

£32,935

20%

Asian or Asian British - Indian

£39,590

0%

Asian or Asian British - Pakistani

£36,000

10%

Asian or Asian British - Bangladeshi

£34,410

15%

Chinese

£41,230

-4%

Other Asian background

£38,130

4%

Other (including mixed)

£38,485

3%

White

£39,630

 

HESA staff record 2017/18

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