Female staff at the University of Kent earn 17.5% less than male colleagues

University of Kent campus shop
The University of Kent campus

Gender pay reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish statistics every year showing how large the pay gap is between their male and female employees.

University of Kent figures reveal on average female employees earn £15.88 per hour, £3.37 less than the men.

The UKC report explains that its workforce has a very slow turnover, with staff often remaining in post for many years. Without new roles opening up, the university claims it has struggled to address the gender imbalance.

The report also highlights the length of time taken to achieve the highest positions in academia and the effect career breaks can have on achieving them. Despite this, women now hold 31% of professorships compared to 16% five years ago.

But Joanna Williams, a former higher education lecturer at the university, has investigated the issue and says there are other factors at work rather than discrimination against women.

“Today, the gender pay gap, however it is measured, is at an all-time low,” Dr Williams said. “When the pay of men and women doing the same jobs, at the same level and for the same number of hours, is compared, the gender pay gap all but disappears.”

John Humphries
John Humphries

In October, it was revealed the BBC pays male staff 9% more than women, causing national outrage and leading to male stars including John Humphrys, Jeremy Vine, and Nick Robinson accepting salary cuts.

UKC says it is actively supporting and encouraging women to apply for senior professorial roles and that it is reviewing its reward policies to make pay decisions transparent and equitable.

With the BBC scandal rumbling on in the background, the issue of gender pay is unlikely to go away. Christ Church will also shortly be publishing its figures. Many are calling for the immediate eradication of the gender pay gap and universities may find the pressure irresistible.

However, with the BBC setting the example perhaps men don’t have too much to fear. Women are up to twenty times more likely to be sent to prison for not paying their TV licence.

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