York gender pay gap higher than national average

The University’s mean Gender Pay Gap is 9.31 per cent, 5.21 per cent higher than the average [Image: DS Pugh]

The University of York’s mean gender pay gap is 19.31 per cent, a recently released report has revealed, higher than the national average of 14.1 per cent. Under new statutory gender pay reporting legislation, organisations had to release their gender pay gap reports by midnight on 4 April, with the University releasing theirs ahead of the deadline in March.

The University’s mean gender pay gap, or the difference between the mean hourly rates of pay for male and female full pay employees, was revealed as 19.31 per cent, a slight decrease from 2016’s 19.71 per cent, while the median gender pay gap, or the difference between the median hourly rates of pay, ranked at 17.72 per cent, again a slight drop from 18.61 per cent, however is staggeringly higher than the UK average of 9.1 per cent.

The report also revealed a 47 per cent to 53 per cent split of the University’s staff, however more male employees receive bonuses, at 4.59 per cent as opposed to 3.86 per cent, with a staggering overall mean gender bonus gap of 73.97 per cent, significantly high-er than the UK average of 40 per cent. However, the high mean bonus gap has been warped by the inclusion of eight recipients of NHS Clinical Excellence Awards, given to qualified medical professionals jointly employed by the University and the NHS, funded by the NHS with the University having nothing to do with the determination of these awards. This leaves the median of 4.38 per cent as a more accurate portrayal of the University’s gender bonus gap, which in turn is significantly lesser than the UK average.

The report further reveals that the uppermost pay quartile of the University is male dominated (comprising 62 per cent of the quartile), as opposed to the lower most pay quartile where males comprise only 37 per cent compared to 63 per cent for females. These findings infer that the senior roles and highest paying jobs at the University, and as such the University’s senior management, are overwhelmingly male, with the University’s Executive Board itself having a slight majority of males.

In response to these findings, the University says it has resolved to tackle what it calls its “unacceptable” mean hourly rate gender pay gap by trying to understand the barriers to the recruitment and promotion of all females, by encouraging females to apply for senior roles, introducing unconscious bias training for key positions, a “deeper analysis” of all pay gaps within diverse employee groups, and by continuing current good practice, such as the Athena Swan initiative.

A University spokesperson told Nouse that: “Addressing the gender pay gap is a high priority for our senior leadership team – the University Executive Board – and our Council. The issue is a national one and we are committed to understanding more about the factors that impact on career progression and pay for men and women.

YUSU’s Women’s Officers Sophie Meehan and Nadine Smith told Nouse that “Women are just not being promoted as much, and when they are they are not being paid what they are worth and not being paid the same as men”, adding that “It’s not just at York it’s a wider issue and the fact that Universities and companies are coming out with their gender pay reports is great because it really highlights the issue so what the University has said about their strategy is really important and it’s very important that they stick to that and we hold them accountable for that.”

“It is important to note that the gender pay gap is not the same as an equal pay gap and unfortunately many media outlets have conflated the two. It is the law that men and women doing work of equal value should receive equal pay. We are confident that the University com-plies with current legislation. The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across an organisation.”

On the matter of the heavily male upper pay quartile, they further commented: “Whilst the statutory gender pay reporting is new in 2018, York has been undertaking equal pay audits for many years. We want to go far beyond meeting statutory obligations … We are looking closely at the proportion of male and females in senior roles, as well as a proactive approach to training, mentoring and personal development to support women in their careers.”

YUSU President Alex Urquhart added: “This gap in pay remains pretty dire and does not make for comfortable reading; it’s a significant gap that does not align with the UoY’s ethos and principles. I have seen first-hand the efforts being made by the University to reduce this gap, and this is encouraging. Despite this, it is vital that the student-body continue reporting and challenging the status quo on this as we well equipped to agitate for more progressive steps and results.”

York St John has one of the highest gender pay gaps in York, with a median gap of 37.44 per cent, although they claimed that their figures were distorted by their paid student ambassador scheme including more females, while York Minster ranked as one of the lowest, with the Chapter of York reporting a relatively low 1.25 per cent mean gap.

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