According to new figures calculated by the BBC, 9 out of 10 UK universities have an above average gender pay gap.
Last week, all public sector bodies with over 250 employees were required to submit information about employees’ salaries to the Government Equalities Office.
This has led to allegations that many UK universities do not pay their female staff enough in comparison to male employees, despite The University & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) pointing out that the gender pay gap in Higher Education has actually narrowed over the last decade.
The controversial figures show that UK universities have an average median pay gap of 13.7% between their male and female employees - a figure which is noticeably higher than the national average of 9.7%. The ‘median pay gap’ refers to the average difference in pay between medium-ranking men and medium-ranking women in an institution or business.
Amongst UK universities, Harper Adams University in Shropshire was the institution with the most significant median pay gap, at 33.7% (over three times the national average).
Out of the members of the prestigious Russell Group, Durham University had the highest median pay gap, with the difference approaching 30%.
The Government Equalities Office also received information on the differing bonuses paid to university employees. In this category, Newcastle University was singled out as being one of the universities with the most significant gender-based gap, with the average male employee receiving a bonus that was 80% higher than their female counterparts.
With regards to other areas of the public sector, the figures showed that almost all government departments, and two thirds of local councils, also have significant pay gaps between male and female employees.
However, it should be noted that the gender pay gap focuses on disparities in average salary earned and does not mean male employees out-earn female employees who do the same job, since it is actually illegal to pay a woman less for performing the same role as a man.