UCL News


UCL publishes its gender and ethnicity pay gap report

20 March 2018

Our mean gender pay gap at UCL is 17.5% according to data published today; this has fallen from 19.5% in 2013 and is close to the UK average of 18%.

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The reduction is largely due to the proactive measures UCL has taken to encourage more women to seek promotion and to apply for our senior roles, and to ensure pay decisions take account of the need to close the existing gap, but there is still a way to go.

"Given our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, the presence of a gender pay gap remains a very disappointing reality and one that we want to remove as fairly as we can and as soon as we can," explained Fiona Ryland, UCL Executive Director of HR.

UCL has an equal pay policy so there is no 'equal pay gap' as staff receive equal pay for work of equal value in every pay grade across the university.

The 17.5% gap exists because more men than women occupy senior roles at UCL. There is a noticeable drop in the proportion of black and minority ethnic (BME) staff as we move up each level at UCL, resulting in a mean ethnicity pay gap of 13.1%. We are aware that the reasons for each gap are likely to be different and are committed to addressing both issues.

Essentially, female and BME staff are more likely to be employed in roles within the lower half of the UCL grading structure and less likely to be employed in roles within the top half the UCL grading structure which is the overwhelming reason for the gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

gender pay gap

ethnicity pay gap

"Demographics have changed slowly over time, but more action is needed to increase diversity at higher levels of the organisation which will directly lead to a reduction in the gender and ethnicity pay gaps. This is a considerable challenge given the structure of our current workforce and our low staff turnover rates but we believe it is achievable," Ms Ryland added.

We have ambitious institutional and departmental gender equality action plans in place through our participation in Athena SWAN and the Race Equality Charter. We are also driving forward initiatives through our equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) networks which are overseen by our '50:50' (gender equality) committee.

UCL is also the first institutional member of WHEN - a new national network for all women in higher education which aims to speed up gender equality and builds on our successful Astrea network.

UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, said: "We have made fantastic progress since 2013 in starting to close the gender gap but we fully acknowledge that we still have a long way to go to redress past imbalances and increase diversity in senior roles at UCL.

"Being open about - and facing up to - our gender and ethnicity pay gaps is an important step in us taking informed, positive action that fosters a culture in which our staff flourish and their unique perspective, experiences and skills are valued."

To achieve our target of having 50/50 male/female representation and increased diversity at grades 9 and 10, we will:

  • Be bold in our recruitment by applying positive action measures to the widest possible pools of talent
  • Offer flexible working - including senior job shares - to hang on to talent
  • Offer shared parental leave to address inequality in caring responsibilities
  • Minimise sexual and gender-based harassment by responding better and taking measures to prevent it
  • Support career progression and improve talent spotting by removing unnecessary systemic barriers to promotion and development
  • Be inclusive in our leadership by reducing implicit bias, valuing different contributions of talent and leadership, and enabling a culture of sponsorship

We know that the gender and ethnicity pay gaps are caused by historical recruitment trends and wider norms in society but we are committed to better understanding the more complex factors behind each at UCL as much as we are able to, so we can address them fully. 



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