Over 8k gender pay gap at Cambridge University

Clara Jane Hendrickson 19 January 2015

According to a recent review by the University of Cambridge, women on academic contracts on average earn over £8,000 less than men.

However, there has been a small reduction in the pay gap from its position in 2012.

The University recently conducted and released its 2014 Equal Pay Review, revealing that on average Cambridge women on academic contracts earn £8,400 less than men. The 13.9 per cent gender pay gap among Cambridge University academics has seen a 0.4 per cent decrease from the 2012 gap. More widely the nation’s public sector median gap is 17.3 per cent.

In response to the Pay Review, Katharine Griffiths, a third year student at Pembroke and the Welfare Officer on the Junior Parlour Committee told The Cambridge Student: "I would have thought that academic institutions would have realized this is a problem. It’s a little disheartening to see this happening at Cambridge.

"It makes me feel intimidated to become a female academic."

However, in reaction to the news, Professor Mary Beard tweeted: "there's a long way to go, but the improvement since I started working here should not be shat on!"

A university spokesman attributed the current gender pay gap to a gender imbalance among academics wherein females make up only 28.5 per cent of Cambridge’s academics. In addition to the pay gap salary, men in deputy directorships and headships were awarded on average £3,320 in non-pensionable additional payments while women in these positions earned only £1,115.

Gender pay gap reports have been published regularly by Cambridge University since 2008, something few universities practice since there is no legal requirement to do so. Cambridge University abides by the guidelines of the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff and the Equality and Human Rights Commission which both assert that gender pay gaps of more than 5 per cent require action to close the gap.

In the introduction of the 2014 Equal Pay Review it was stated that by publishing such a report, the university hopes to maintain the transparency of the university’s pay system and convey the university’s values and consideration for its entire workforce. The university also recently revised its Equality Objectives to include addressing the gender pay gap in senior academic positions. Training, recruitment, and promotion schemes have been devised by the university to increase the number of female employees in senior academic and administrative positions.

Cambridge’s Equal Pay Review Group has recommended a review of the process for setting starting salaries, an exploration of potential initiatives for working parents and aspiring female leaders, and briefings on the 2014 report to guide the work of Cambridge’s new Senior Gender Equality Network.