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Equal Pay Audit

31 Mar 2014

Report on the recent equal pay audit of Grade 1 to 8 staff (all staff groups, including academic).

University staff

Under the terms of the 2010 Final Pay and Grading Agreement between the University and the campus trade unions, it was acknowledged that principles of equal pay for work of equal value should underpin the agreement. The University therefore committed to commence the first equal pay audit of all staff, including PSS, academic and research, paid in Grades 1 to 8 within a year of the completion of the appeals process. In 2013 the last remaining appeals from the 2010 Agreement were being concluded, so a plan was initiated to undertake and complete an audit by the early part of 2014.

A Working Group comprising representatives of recognised campus trade unions and the University was convened to consider plans and to examine the data collected and analyses of the data. The Working Group’s role was also to consider any necessary actions in response to the results. It was further agreed that details of findings and any agreed actions in response would be made available to staff and other stakeholders, and be published on the University’s web site.

The audit followed the steps recommended by both the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff (JNCHES). This approach examines pay differences within grades based on the three categories (i.e. gender, ethnicity and disability). 

In accordance with JNCHES guidance, this means that where a pay differential is less than 3%, no action is considered necessary.  Where the difference is greater than 3% but less than 5%, it is recommended that the position is regularly monitored and for pay gaps of 5% or more, it is recommended that immediate action is taken to address the issue and to close the gap.

The headline findings of the audit are as follows:


  • Overall, the pay gap is 0.5% (female>male). At no grade is the gap greater than 1.6% (female>male). 


  • Overall, the pay gap is 1.3% (BME>white). At no grade is the gap greater than 2.5% (BME>white).


  • Overall, the pay gap is 0.9% (disabled>non-disabled). At one grade the gap is as high as 3.1%   (disabled>non-disabled).

This means that in accordance with JNCHES guidance, no action is necessary in response to the gender and ethnicity pay gaps. In relation to disability, although the overall gap is small, the University will keep the position under review at one grade.

On behalf of the Review Group, its chair, Andrew Mullen, Deputy Director of HR, commented:

“The findings indicate that the University’s implementation and application of HERA and the associated pay structures provide equal pay for like work and thereby it is meeting its obligations under the Equality Act. The findings also suggest the University has developed and is maintaining a fair and equitable reward system and, in so doing, is supporting its equality objectives in a critical and measurable way. It is really pleasing to see that the effort and time that went into finalising the pay and grading agreement have helped us attain one of its most important objectives.”

The University is committed to undertaking equal pay reviews every two years and the next one will commence in 2015.

Details of the audit and its findings can be viewed at the following link:

N.B: It should be noted that matters of potential inequalities in progression between grades, and appointment levels to different grades, is outside the remit of the Equal Pay Audit. Similarly, the scope of the audit excludes Grade 9 staff.  The University has agreed to explore these matters in the Equality and Diversity Forum.  Differences between proportions of gender, ethnicity and other equality strands across grades and within Grade 9 are the subject of on-going investigation in partnership with the campus trade unions.