On a Monday morning in mid-October students and staff here in St. Andrews received an email from our principal, Sally Mapstone. This email delineated the gender pay gap within St Andrews University.
Specifically, “The University of St Andrews has published information on Gender pay by salary band since 2013, in line with the 2012 Scottish Specific Duties under the 2010 Equalities Act, as part of the biennial Equality Mainstreaming Reports.”
Available both on a University website and a website dedicated to this information by the British Government, the data shows that there is a significant difference in mean and median hourly rates between men and women staff members of St Andrews.
A women staff member’s mean hourly rate at St Andrews is 23.3% lower than a man’s while her median hourly rate is 18.9% lower than a man’s. This difference is largely due to the lack of women in higher paid jobs. Split into four quartiles, the highest wage quartile has only 36.1% women in it while the lowest quartile is comprised of 64.3% women. The upper middle quartile and lower middle quartile are a little more evenly distributed with 49.3% and 56.2% women fulfilling those positions, respectively.
Using the government’s website documenting this data, it is evident to see that St Andrews is relatively average amongst other British universities regarding the gender pay gap. For example, women’s mean hourly rate at Cambridge is 19.6% lower than men’s while the median hourly rate is15% lower. Additionally, women at Durham have an average hourly rate that is 25.4% lower than men’s and the mean hourly rate for women at Kings College London is 19.5% lower than men’s.
As a country, Britain’s gender pay gap is higher than the European average with an unadjusted pay gap of 21%, which is higher than the average European gap pf 16.2%. Estonia has the highest at 25.3% and the lowest is in Romania at 5.2%.
Principal Sally Mapstone stated in her email that the University had released this information so that, “that our whole our community can see where challenge and unfairness may persist, and so that as a community we can debate how we think the gender pay gap can be effectively addressed.”
She continued to state that, “Gender equality is a critical driver for excellence, innovation, and growth; and gender pay gap figures provide a tangible measure over time of how an institution engages with gender equality in the workplace.”
In order to further evaluate this issue, a Gender Pay Gap Working Group has been established with the local trade unions and the Principal urges any comments regarding the report be brought to the group for discussion.
This report has been brought forward in accordance with Scottish law, but it is also a step towards transparency in a current political climate wrought with gender issues debates and disagreements that reflects well on the University.