Newly-released data on the gender pay gap show women working Imperial College London earn, on average, 9.4% less per hour than male staff.
The data, which were released last Friday, show men dominating the highest paying jobs at Imperial. Furthermore, men are more likely to be granted bonus pay, which is on average 50% higher than the bonus pay for women. The report comes as the government is mandating companies bigger than 250 people to release pay gap data.
The median hourly wage gap at Imperial is 9.4% – lower than the 16.25% gap for the Russell Group universities that have made their data available thus far, and in line with the median national gender pay gap. It is also lower than the median pay gap for higher education institutions (HEIs), which currently stands at 14.3%.
The mean gender pay gap, however, stands at 19.4%, hinting at the existence of a number of highly-paid male outliers. Again, this is lower than the average for Russell Group universities, but is higher than both the national average and the average for HEIs. Earlier this month, Felix revealed Imperial spends more on senior staff salaries than any other Russell Group university in the country, with an average payout of £280,000 per annum for the key management personnel group. Imperial also has some of the highest earners in the Russell Group, with 410 staff earning above £100,000 pa.
Following the general trend for HEIs, at Imperial men dominate the highest-paid positions. Within the top paid quartile of staff, over 70% are men – the highest proportion out of the Russell Group universities who have declared thus far. 56% of staff in the second-highest paying quartile were also men.
While overall Imperial employs more men than women – with 44% of all staff identifying as female – the number of women drops significantly within research and academia: the most recent publicly-available Equality and Diversity Committee (E&DC) report, from July 2016, showed only 38% of research staff and 20% of academic staff were women.
This gap widens as staff progress through the ranks of employment: as of 2016, there were 533 male professors compared to 94 female ones, with the data showing a progressive attrition of women as they progress through pay grades.
Out of the 20 heads of departments, only three are women – Professor Dame Amanda Fisher of the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Professor Anne Dell of the Department of Life Sciences, and Professor Michele Dougherty, the newly-installed Head of the Department of Physics. None of the four faculty deans are women.
Men were slightly more likely to be granted bonuses, with 4.8% of male staff getting bonus pay compared to 4.3% of women. The median bonus pay for women was £1,500 – half the median for men, which stands at £3,000. The College say this gap is because “we have fewer women in senior positions, and bonus payments are proportionate to individuals’ salaries.”
In a statement, Professor James Stirling, Imperial’s Provost, welcomed the reporting requirement, and said the gender pay gap was not acceptable. He said “We are committed to addressing this imbalance by tackling barriers to progression”, citing personalised development, unconscious bias training, and outreach work in schools, among other projects.
Professor Stirling said: “Our activity on gender sits as part of our wider equality work, now led by Professor Stephen Curry – our new Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We are determined to enhance the working environment to make Imperial a better place to work for all our staff.”
Speaking to Felix earlier this month, prior to the publication of the data, Professor Curry said only 17% of professors at Imperial were women, and “if you’re going to argue the best people are at the top, that’s manifestly not true.” He told Felix: “We do still have many problems, but I think the direction of travel is a good one.”
From 2017, the government has mandated that all organisations employing more than 250 people must publish a series of figures documenting their pay gap. Public sector organisations – including higher education institutions – must release their data by 30th March, while other companies must do so before the 4th April.
To date, only eleven of the Russell Group’s 24 universities have made the data available.Thus far fewer than 4,000 employers have released the data, with the Financial Times estimating as many as 13,500 in total will need to reveal their data. The head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission this week stated those who failed to reveal the data would be named.