Durham gender pay gap unchanged at 27.9%

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Durham University has a median gender pay gap of 27.9% for 2019/20 according to data published on the government website. The gap has not reduced since 2018/19. 

The median gender pay gap calculates the difference between the middle paid female employee and their male counterpart. At Durham, the median hourly rate for males is £17.22 compared to a median female hourly rate of £12.41. 

Durham’s gap of 27.9% in 2019/20 is the highest of any Russell Group university

Annually, male academic staff employed by Durham University earned a mean average of £7,813.56 more than their female counterparts. Among non-academic staff, male employees earned an average of £4,588.18 more than female employees.

All UK organisations with more than 250 employees are legally compelled to declare their gender pay gap data. 

Durham’s gap of 27.9% in 2019/20 is the highest of any Russell Group university with declared data. The figures for five universities in the group are unavailable. University College London (UCL) reported the lowest median pay gap at 7%.

The Durham University website states that: “Gender pay can be about structural issues such as having a disproportionate number of staff of one gender at one grade e.g. more men at the top grade or more women in the bottom grade.”

The data shows that women make up 66% of Durham’s lowest quartile employees, compared to only 37.1% of highest quartile employees. 

The data also reveals that at Durham male employees received 62.9% more in bonus pay than female employees. 

“Gender pay inequality is an issue facing society as a whole”

Professor Antony Long

Professor Antony Long, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, who is responsible for EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity), said: “Durham University supports the principle of equal pay for all our employees, and we are working to eliminate any barriers people may experience in relation to their gender.

“Gender pay inequality is an issue facing society as a whole, including the higher education sector. Our Gender Pay Gap has continued to fall over recent years in response to positive steps being taken, but they take time to work through.

“However, we know there is more to do. We are continuing to implement our University-wide Gender Pay Gap action plan to improve how we recruit and reward our staff, support them to develop professionally and their working conditions and environment.”

In a statement to Palatinate, the Durham branch of the University and College Union (UCU), which represents staff, said: “Following prolonged industrial action, our national and local fight for pay equality continues. Gender pay gaps are clear – and can often be more marked at either end of the pay scale. 

“Along with the other trade unions, we are looking to ensure that, regardless of your level at the University, you are covered by pay bargaining agreements with the recognised trade unions. We believe this will help to address some of these inequalities.”

In response to the findings, Kate McIntosh, president of the SU, said: “Durham University’s current gender pay gap is shameful. We shouldn’t be aiming for the sector average or the best in the Russell Group, we should be aiming to eradicate the gap completely. 

“The pay gap is a problem because it shows us that women are systematically undervalued; women are paid less than men in the same roles, and the types of work women tend to do more so than men, like in catering and housekeeping, are undervalued. 

“Durham University’s current gender pay gap is shameful.”

“The University is such a big employer that this impacts the local job market. The University has to own up to its responsibility and pay women staff fairly. 

“But we also need to see a shift in the hierarchical culture in the University that makes sexism okay – if women staff aren’t valued at Durham University, why would they want to stay and progress to more senior, better paid roles?”

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